And so it is Christmas.
The shopping and the cooking and the partying and the excitement have all come to their peak, and it is Christmas Day.
A day when most of the world comes to a stop, and we are given a chance to breathe.
Whether you celebrate the birth of a baby today, or simply enjoy 24 hours of peace and tranquility, today is for you.
But Christmas Day isn’t celebrated the same way by everyone.
Many of us will gather with our families today. Santa’s presents will be eagerly unwrapped by eager children, while bleary-eyed adults watch on. Families will pile into the station wagon to travel to Grandma’s house, where everyone will enjoy the Christmas goose and giggle at Aunt Jane tipping back a few too many eggnogs.
But, the Norman Rockwell image to the contrary, not everyone will have the same Christmas.
Police officers and firefighters and emergency room nurses and doctors — our modern day heroes — will have their holidays disrupted taking care of the rest of us.
Families broken by death or divorce, by distance or sheer pigheadedness, will cling to their separate hearths today.
Fathers and mothers drained dry by job losses and overwhelming expenses will fret that their children won’t be finding an iPad under their Christmas tree.
And the cynics among us will rant at the commercialism of the holiday and bemoan the loss of the good old days.
But today is Christmas, and no matter your religious persuasion, it is a holy day, a day set aside from the rest of the year.
No matter our circumstances, it is a time to be thankful for the gifts we have been given.
No, not the garish tie or Christmas sweater nestling in boxes under the tree.
If you are blessed with a family, be thankful for them, and remember those gone with love, not grief.
If you are blessed with a job, be thankful for it, even though it might not be exactly what you want. Be thankful for your brains or muscles or whatever skills you have been given that enable you to earn a living.
And if you are blessed with air in your lungs today, be thankful for your life. Enjoy what you have been given, and make yourself a gift to others. Visit the sick and the elderly; feed the hungry; weep with the sorrowing; and, especially, love the children.
Yes, today is Christmas, a day set aside from all others.
Let’s celebrate together.
BCR Staff Writer Barb Kromphardt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.