There are many among us who make -- and usually break -- the annual solemn vow that this year they will not let the crush of the Christmas season tie them in knots.
In a time that is supposed to evoke joy and good cheer, we often feel rushed, harried, depressed and even angry.
But it is at these times that we must stop, take a deep breath, reflect and search for perspective.
Ours is a simple counsel: choose to eschew the stress and hubbub of the season and realize there are many things that are right in this world.
For Christians what is right is that this holiday marks the celebration of the birth of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Considering the significance of that for just a brief time should be humbling to any true believer and make them slow down to enjoy and reflect on the moment.
For most non-Christians, this remains a significant secular holiday often offering precious time with friends, family and loved ones.
That opportunity is a special gift and should be embraced and relished.
Then there are the selfless actions of those we see around us. Maybe it's the local food banks that make sure the less fortunate among us have something to eat, or the U.S. Marines' Toys for Tots campaign that tirelessly supplies toys on Christmas to children who would otherwise have little, or the help for the homeless provided by the Salvation Army. They are but a few of the hundreds of organizations dedicated to the service of others. They most assuredly provide us with some of the things right in this world.
Yes, Christmas has become far too commercialized for our taste, but we are grateful that it is up to each of us to decide how we will celebrate this holiday and exactly what is important to us.
We are also grateful to not have soldiers on the battlefield in Iraq and to have declining numbers in Afghanistan. We are grateful for those soldiers who have served there and have a special place in our hearts for their families.
In the spirit of the season, our sincere wish is for everyone to have a happy and meaningful Christmas holiday.
We urge Christians to take time to truly remember the tenets of your faith and reflect on exactly why this day is important and for non-Christians to use the occasion to consider the blessings of this life and to share a kindness of spirit with those around you.
And, finally, that there be peace with us all. Merry Christmas.