Christmas Message From Major Sandra Stokes

December 24, 2018

[Christmas message from Salvation Army Divisional Commander Major Sandra Stokes]

“Oh why can’t every day be like Christmas, why can’t that feeling go on endlessly?

For if every day could be just like Christmas – what a wonderful world this could be!”

The words of this song by Elvis Presley were released in 1957.

I love Christmas! The early morning reading of the Christmas Story as our eyes struggle to stay open, the smile of a child opening that long-awaited-for gift, the sharing of a family meal and memories around the table, the singing of Christmas carols and going for a drive to explore the Christmas lights. I love all of it. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

I love Christmas also because something seems to change at this time of year. You would be blind not to notice it. It happens every year! It is almost as if someone hit a switch – it happens that suddenly. Everyone in the world becomes a little different. Yes, different is the perfect word.

Children act differently toward their parents, and parents see their children through different eyes. Smiles come easier, patience is more plentiful, and affection seems natural. Society is different too. The man-made gulf between rich and poor, boss and employee, student and teacher is filled in by feelings of goodwill and God’s love. At this time of year, pursuits and passions that keep the world and our lives spinning at its dizzying pace are put into perspective.

What causes this miraculous transformation to take place? I would suggest it isn’t the decorations, celebrations, holidays or gifts. This vast difference in human hearts and behavior has been transmitted from a lonely little manger in which was born the Savior of the world. The Christ-Child is the difference. He came to bring love, joy, peace and hope to all mankind. We all need these things and we can all give them, as well.

Every day can’t be December 25. However, every day can be like Christmas as we choose to act differently: loving, giving, being forgiving, and showing God’s unconditional love to those we meet. What a wonderful world it could be!

I take this opportunity to wish you and yours a blessed Christmas. May you sense the presence of Immanuel – God with us – in all of your celebrations. Thank you for supporting The Salvation Army and helping us fulfill our mission in transforming community.

God bless you all.

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