Yes, Virginia, there is a Christmas

David and Joli Wood of Floyd enjoying life at The Friday Night Jamboree.
David and Joli Wood enjoying life at The Friday Night Jamboree and one of my favorite photos from a decade and a half of shooting pictures at that happy event.

A longtime friend says she just can’t get into the “Christmas Spirit” this year.

She points to the chaos in Washington, a record year of mass shootings in our nation,, the overwhelming cases of sexual harassment that have ended careers of politicians and celebrities and business leaders and a general feeling that the world as we know it is “going to hell.”

“It is difficult to get into the spirit of giving and love when we seem to be mired in a society of taking and satisfying cravings and lust and greed,” she says.  “What is happening to us.”

it’s easy to feel that way.  People die at a musical concert of celebration because a madman goes on a rampage with assault-style rifles from an upper floor of a hotel in Las Vegas or fall victim to another at a church in a rural community.

Our nation is run by a narcissistic president who himself preys on the weakness of women sexual assaults as well as nations and opponents with threats and misinformation, aided by a compliant Congress that puts partisanship above service to the country and its people.

Yet I forgot about all that for an hour and 45-minutes Thursday night by watching a fun musical extravaganza about P.T. Barnum and his escapism entertainment in The World’s Greatest Showman” at the Regal multiplex in Christiansburg while Amy played bingo with new vigor after a shot of cortisone gave feeling and movements back to her earlier this week.

Restoration of her movement and removal of pain from day-to-day activities was the greatest Christmas gift we could have received this year.  We thank God and modern medical science for it.

We end 2017 with many positive feelings and attitudes.  We celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary and my 70th birthday in December and I’m still a newspaperman at a time when my profession is under attack by those who feel “real news” can only come from partisans who write what the critics think in the truth.

We have our health and a good home and good friends — both longtime acquaintances and new ones — and we look forward to 2018 with vigor and hope.

We live in a nation where a democratic notion of government forged more than two centuries ago finds a way to overcome those who try to put partisanship above patriotism and personal gratification over the needs of citizens.

Amy and I will work this weekend to help those less fortunate and who need to know that others do care about their plight in life.  it’s what we do on each Christmas because helping others is — to us — what this time is about.

As a recovering alcoholic — 23 years, six months and 16 days sober as this is written — I will be on call 24/7 if a fellow traveler slips back into the beast we call dependence on a drug, even a “legal” one that is sold over the counter at an ABC store, a grocery store or local gas stations.

Amy counsels those who face the potential losses of loved ones.  She knows what that is like.  She has lost most of her family and spent more than two months beside me in 2012 when doctors weren’t sure if I would live or die.

We hope and pray that those who feel lost in a chaotic time can find peace and happiness in ways we have during the four centuries that we known each other and found love and joy.

This why we look forward to another Christmas and revel in all that it means in these times.  I hope to find new ways to write about what is good in our community and our nation in the coming year.

May you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  All of our love to each.

 

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