12 America - US Flag flying at Hull Yacht Clubby Robert Gillis
Published in The Foxboro Reporter

It’s Christmas 2001. Hard to believe, isn’t it?

It’s only been three months since September 11. With all that’s happened, many us are thinking, how could we enjoy Christmas this year? Should we even try?

After all, while we decorate trees and make cookies, our soldiers are in Afghanistan, facing death every day as they fight for our freedom and way of life.

While we send Christmas cards, others are searching for who is putting anthrax in the US Mail.

While we shop for presents, crews still work round the clock recovering bodies in the wreckage that was once the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

While we shop for the holiday meal, others mourn the special person who won’t be at the table.
We feel guilty enjoying the season when we remember 6000 dead and the 10,000 children orphaned that day.

This has been a very difficult year. So many people are grieving. This country is in so much pain right now.

On a large scale and small, life here has changed. But I think it’s important that we shouldn’t sacrifice or ignore Christmas out of guilt or sadness. We need Christmas this year – more than ever.

Christmas 2001 is about more than the glitter, shopping, tinsel and plastic – you can see it everywhere. From the red white and blue Christmas decorations, to the decrease in holiday buying frenzy, to the increase in church attendance and people who say they want a more spiritual or family holiday – things have changed. These last 90 days, we are remembering the ones who are gone, and treasuring the ones still with us.

We’re taking time to reflect and being grateful for all the blessings we do have, such as family, friends, health and life. We’re doing something extra this season, maybe helping others in need, donating blood, money or food, or volunteering our time in some way. We’re attending church services. We’re keeping our soldiers in our thoughts and prayers.

This Christmas, if you can, keep your traditions. Decorate the tree, bake the cookies, and above all be there for anyone you know who might be grieving. Call them, write letters, be their friend.
They need you.

Whether or not you’re lighting up the outside of your house, consider putting a candle on your front doorstep again, like we did for two weeks in September, in memory of all those who died this year.

Light it for them, and their families, and for our soldiers, and for yourself.

Christmas is about a miracle. And while “Peace, good will toward men” isn’t very obvious at the moment, I believe it can also mean that Christmas can bring “Peace in our hearts.”

At this holiest time of the year, we pray that that the true spirit of this season will help us persevere, and help us heal.

God bless you all.

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