Cumberland Times-News

December 23, 2012

Wish list?

It’s not for us, but for others with greater needs


Cumberland Times-News

— If we were to prepare a Christmas wish list for Santa Claus (we believe, by the way), we don’t know where we would start, or how long it would be. Just about the time we thought we were finished, we would think of something else to add.

We do know that it would be devoted almost exclusively to things for other people whose needs are greater than ours.

Most likely, it would be headed by the victims of the shootings in Newtown, Conn. No gift can replace what they have lost, so our wish — a prayer, actually — is that they may find peace.

We believe in Santa for the same reasons former New York Sun writer Francis P. Church outlined in his famous editorial response to Virginia O’Hanlon, who asked if Santa was real. (In keeping with our Christmas tradition, we will run “Yes, Virginia,” in tomorrow’s edition.)

We also disagree with our syndicated columnist Bill O’Reilly and others who say there is a war on Christmas. If such a war exists, Christmas is winning — as witness, in part, by the long list of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services in our recent Church Calendars.

We see its spirit everywhere, even in the Jewish friends of Christians who respect their traditions and wish them “Merry Christmas,” just as the Christians return the favor by wishing them “Happy Hanukkah.” It happens. We’ve seen it.

The spirit of giving and random acts of kindness (that aren’t as random as some people may think) are more prevalent at this time of year than any other. For some of us, it may be a matter of tradition. For others, it may be a matter of faith ... or faith combined with tradition.

America is like no other country, because our Founding Fathers gave us a system that respects the practice of all faiths and faith-based traditions, as well as the choice not to practice them.

Intolerance flares up now and then, but it’s nothing compared to what happens in other places where there’s no such thing as tolerance, and it’s a matter of “Believe what we tell you, or else!”

Whatever your faith, or even if you practice no faith at all, we leave you with this wish that covers everyone: May peace be with you.