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.

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    Many area residents were disappointed to learn this week that the NSU Fitness Center, and its all-important indoor lap pool, won’t open next month, as originally announced.
    This latest delay is no surprise.

    July 28, 2014

  • Higher premiums a just reward for drunken drivers

    Over the past several years, Oklahoma has slipped in many of the polls that count. This week, we learned Tulsa is No. 4 on a list of cities with high rates of fatal DUI accidents. Is anyone really surprised?

    July 25, 2014

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    The 18th annual BalloonFest was the last one held, in 2010. In summer 2011, when the Daily Press staff hadn’t heard anything about the much-anticipated event, we started asking questions.

    July 23, 2014

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    If you see something, say something. You’ve heard the warning, and seen it imprinted on placards at airports. In the wake of 9/11, it became a national mantra, mainly aimed at spotting potential terrorist activities. But it’s good advice anytime, and for any reason, even at the local level.

    July 14, 2014

  • City officials should stop squabbling and try to work together

    It’s bad enough that the Chamber of Commerce scandal has given Tahlequah a black eye. But if the bickering among city officials doesn’t stop, the community will have a complete set of shiners for its public face.

    July 11, 2014

  • Only full disclosure will restore trust in the chamber

    Despite pressure from some quarters, neither the Press nor anyone else who values full disclosure will be clamming up until all the facts are known, and those who are responsible meet with justice.

    July 10, 2014

  • Only full disclosure will restore trust in the chamber

    A few board members for the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce are saying they’ve heard nothing but positive things lately – about the chamber itself, and presumably, about themselves.

    July 9, 2014

  • Employer-sponsored insurance may now be a ‘hostage’ situation

    When the fallout settles from the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, many Americans might decide they’re better off with health insurance that doesn’t come from their boss.

    July 7, 2014

  • With confidence in Congress at 7 percent, time for a new slate

    Note to Congress: We don’t like you. Not at all.
    A Gallup poll released Monday, June 30 confirmed what most of us already know: the American public is disgusted with the House and Senate. The survey recorded the lowest level of confidence since Gallup began asking the question in 1991: a whopping 7 percent. That’s not a typographical error; it’s a single digit.

    July 2, 2014

  • New chamber head needs to be free from scandal’s taint

    Every time another layer is peeled off the unfolding saga of the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce embezzlement case, those going through the records hope they might see a light at the end of the tunnel. So far, that hasn’t happened.

    June 30, 2014


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