Tahlequah Daily Press


December 24, 2012

Honoring the best meaning of Christmas

TAHLEQUAH — As the Christmas season approaches its climax and the end of 2012 draws near, it’s a good time to reflect on the state of our world, nation, state and community, and to think about ways we might make it better in 2013.

Even those who aren’t Christians – and who are instead adherents of another religion, or of no religion at all – can appreciate the “reason for the season.” That’s a bit of a worn and trite phrase, but it’s also apropos. Though Dec. 25 is unlikely to be the precise date on which Jesus Christ was born, it nevertheless symbolizes a cornerstone of the faith: a vigil and a quest for the coming of peace and goodwill, justice and harmony, the reaching out to others in sacrificial love, and the salvific purging of all evil from our presence.

We need look no further than last Friday’s deadly shootings in Connecticut to understand we’re far from these lofty goals. Even as the entire country mourns the incomprehensible loss of innocent victims, many out there are using this national tragedy to further their own purposes. Some politicians who have cried out against the circumstances that led to the killing of four adult diplomats – who had understood the risks of putting themselves into a war zone – now stand silent in the conversation on how to curb the rise of mass slayings on our soil. Several for-profit scams using the emotional impact of the school shooting have been reported.

Meanwhile, in other news, politicians hold steady in their 11th-hour game of brinkmanship over the federal budget, when all they need do to serve 98 percent of their constituents is firm up the tax cuts for the middle class, and go back to work on other matters come the first of the year. The meth scourge continues to rip families apart and generate crimes across the spectrum. Predatory behavior, like molestation, seems to go on unabated. Neighbors don’t trust neighbors anymore, and even when they do, they are blind to the basic needs of those around them.

Those last couple of paragraphs may sound fatalistic, and clash with the Christmas message. But in fact, that’s the point. Even at the lowest marks in the cycle of history, and even in our blackest hours, Christmas points to not so much the winter birth of a particular baby somewhere in the Judean desert, but to the hope that birth brings with it.

It’s easy to pay lip service to Christmas ideals, but far more difficult to put them into action. It’s also difficult for us to take a hard look at society’s problems, and to acknowledge that children are usually the ultimate victims. The ones who died in Connecticut, while among the most tragic, are, in a sense, the tip of the iceberg.

If you can do one thing for one person today – if you can “pay it forward,” as the currently in-vogue phrase has it – then you should do it. And because of the very nature of Christmas, if you can only do something for one person, consider making that person a child.

While many of us sit down to family feasts Dec. 25, millions of children will listen to their bellies rumble. Thousands of those hungry children are right here in Oklahoma. They’ll have no gifts awaiting them under a tree with twinkling lights. They may be victims of abuse or neglect, or they may simply be the byproduct of an economic system that grinds the poor under the wheels of the ever-upwardly mobile super-wealthy.

You still have time to pluck an angel from a tree, to find out what your less-fortunate neighbors need, to ask your pastor about needy members of your congregation. You still have time to write a check to one of our local charities that works daily to make better lives for human beings: Help-In-Crisis, CASA, Hope House, Project Osiyo, Habitat for Humanity, and others. Or you can simply give someone a bit of your time – a helping hand, a listening ear, or a hug and a kind word.

You don’t have to be a Christian to practice the Golden Rule, which is a tenet basic to humankind since time out of mind. It’s not the “season to be jolly” for everyone, but you can make it more so by doing your part.

Text Only
  • Attack at school in Pennsylvania: Mental illness root of problem

    Washington’s crusade against guns was dealt a severe blow on Wednesday. No, it wasn’t the Supreme Court curtailment of the Second Amendment right of all Americans to own firearms. It wasn’t an executive order handed down by the administration. It was the brutal assault by a high school student in Pennsylvania against his fellow students – with a knife.

    April 14, 2014

  • People with faulty zippers should be booted from office

    We may forgive, but we shouldn’t forget, because there’s serious work to do in Washington. That work will never be accomplished as long as flawed zippers - literally or figurately – are a pervasive problem.

    April 11, 2014

  • Do your part to fight animal and child abuse

    It’s hard to change the habits of an abuser, especially when mitigating factors – such as alcohol or drugs – are involved. And these patterns tend to repeat themselves in successive generations. But all of us can take one small step to help eradicate this epidemic, and that is to report it when we see it.

    April 9, 2014

  • NSA head lies to Congress, and seems to get away with it

    Is there an obvious pattern of criminality within these governmental agencies? If so, why isn’t the Judicial Department investigating?

    April 7, 2014

  • Pass for rich kiddie rapist proves that justice isn’t blind

    Someone in Wilmington, Del., needs to keep an eye on Superior Court Judge Jan Jurden for the next few months, because she might improve her standard of living due to a sudden influx of cash.
    There’s no other way to explain why Jurden would have sentenced an ultra-wealthy heir to the du Pont fortune to probation for raping his 3-year-old daughter. It’s an outrageous miscarriage of justice that once again proves when it comes to the U.S. justice system, the elite get a pass almost every time.

    April 4, 2014

  • Maybe it’s not $3.2B, but state should still account for tribal cash

    In an editorial published last week, the Daily Press said that through tribal compacts, the state of Oklahoma received about $3.2 billion in annual revenue, partly attributable to the 117 casinos (or 118, in some reports) run by 33 tribes in the state. The information we accessed for that piece was confusing, and had a typo or two, which may have led us to overstate – to a considerable degree – how much money the tribes actually give the state.

    April 2, 2014

  • Tribal compacts should mean state has money to perform its functions

    Oklahoma should be rolling in the dough. The statistics bear that out. Thirty-three American Indian tribes operate 117 casinos in this state. Thanks to “compacts,” these tribes have been sharing the wealth with the state of Oklahoma. And thanks to the casinos, that wealth is substantial.

    March 28, 2014

  • It’s time to turn in your candidate announcements

    If you are running for a political office for which Cherokee County voters can cast ballots, it’s time to turn in your announcement. We’ve already run a few, and expect several more. The primary elections are Tuesday, June 24, with the registration period to vote in this election closing Thursday, May 30.

    March 24, 2014

  • Mom responsible for watching kid; restaurant’s not

    If you allowed your child to drink a bottle of drain cleaner, would you feign surprise when he fell to the floor, twitching and foaming at the mouth? If you left your curling iron within reach of your baby and she pulled it off the vanity and burned her hand, would you plan revenge on the store that sold you the appliance?
    You just might, if you’re among the litigious Americans who have abdicated parental responsibility to either sloth or the hope of a better tomorrow through a cash settlement.

    March 19, 2014

  • Palin endorsement won’t do too much for T.W. Shannon

    So Sarah Palin has endorsed former Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Tom Coburn. We’re not impressed, and we doubt too many other folks in Cherokee County will be, either.

    March 17, 2014


What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
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