One hears a great deal these days - especially today - about the spirit of Christmas and keeping it all through the year.
But that's easier said than done when we have an army fighting in the field and flag-draped caskets arriving at our shores with troubling frequency. They will be cleaning up the mess on the east coast from Hurricane Sandy for the next year. The economy continues to grapple with challenges and, Lord help us, let's not ever forget the children and adults of Newtown, Conn., who died at the hands of a deranged individual who also murdered his own mother before killing himself.
To many, we suspect, the spirit of Christmas seems further away than ever. But is it?
We would argue it can be found in dozens of ways and places, large and small, all around us. Take the 2012 Mining Journal Cheer Club, for example. This is a program the publication has helped the Salvation Army with for decades. The idea is simple: Gather as many toys as possible for distribution to needy families in the area. Area residents stepped up, donating thousands of new toys and many thousands of dollars used to buy toys. Christmas will come to hundreds of homes as a result.
The Marine Corps League's Toys for Tots initiative is another program that does wonderful work in this and many areas. Those ex-Marines aren't getting anything for the work they do, other than the satisfaction of helping.
Although those are easy-to-see examples of the Christmas spirit, we'd argue it comes in much smaller sizes, too. Holding the door open for people you don't know when entering a building can be an example of the Christmas spirit. Greeting strangers with a smile and kind word is another. Or just dropping off a plate of cookies to a neighbor.
For some, this will be the first Christmas without a cherished loved one. For others, it will another Christmas spent alone, physically or emotionally. Reach out to these people and show them you care. The Christmas spirit is all around is. Embrace it.
The Mining Journal staff wishes its readers in Superiorland and beyond a Merry Christmas!