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This Christmas

On a gloomy Wednesday afternoon, no sun in the sky to speak of and a few hours of Christmas shopping under our belts, my son and I plop down in the living room and breathe a sigh of relief.  It is over with.  Or so I think.  For there always seems to be yet one more person to buy for, one more gift we "should have bought."  I start to get nervous and my head starts to pound.  Did we buy enough?  Is there someone we forgot?  Will the kids be satisfied?  Always there is this nagging thought that lingers until the day has passed.  And I begin to find myself hoping for it to pass.  That is the shame of it all.

My thoughts turn to the kids at school.  The ones in my school and so many others like it.  The ones who don't get Christmas, who don't look forward to two weeks off.  For these kids, this is two weeks away from perhaps the only caring, stable environment they know.  These parents don't worry about how much money they will be spending on their kids because there isn't any extra money to spend.  And the kids know that.  And they are okay with that. 

Let me repeat the last line.  They are okay with that.  This is an important point because this is, possibly, the biggest difference betweeen the so-called "haves and have-nots."  These kids don't need us to feel sorry for them; they don't need hand-outs, as so many people are quick to think.  Poverty is a horrible, ugly thing.  Kids and families who are living in poverty wil be the first to tell you that.  But they have learned something that many others have not.  Family is everything.  Relationships come first, and when the chips are down, family is what matters most.  Not worrying that someone will be happy with the gift we bought them at Christmas.

This Christmas, let's not worry about the things we don't have.  Let's not worry about the last-minute shopping we should be doing.  Because what we should be doing is counting our blessings and spending these two weeks we are fortunate enough to have off, with our families. 

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