Writer’s Note: Of the thousands of stories and columns I penned as a journalist, my annual Christmas column was always the most special to me.

If you would, please take time to read it by just the light of the Christmas tree, and have the most wonderful Merry Christmas of your life. – Thank you -- Mayor Randy Heath.

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I’m going to ask you for a favor, if I may.

When you read this article tonight, please sit in the room with your Christmas tree, its lights on, and just have maybe a small lamp turned on to read with.

I hope it will help this article have for you the meaning and feeling I want it to convey.

Now Wednesday, Dec. 25 will be Christmas morning, the day we’ll all celebrate as our most special day of the year.

There is no other holiday more meaningful than the one we celebrate then, none whatsoever.

It is so much more than just a day, so much more than the opening of gifts from those who truly care. It is a day which explains our very meaning of life.

Christmas is giving. Christmas is receiving. Christmas is getting a gift for which there is no price, the gift of delivering the joy to someone who has given so much during every day of the year.

Isn’t it the greatest high you can feel when someone else opens one of the gifts you gave them for Christmas? Shouldn’t your greatest feeling come when you have given of yourself to make someone else happy and joyous?

And it’s not the quantity that matters, it is how much others have given of themselves to try to bring happiness to you, and you to them.

So what if you don’t get everything you want for Christmas this year, isn’t it nice to know that there is someone who loves you and has made the effort to make Dec. 25 a very special day for you?

Christmas is a reminder, it tells us of the way we should live every day. Come Thursday, Dec. 26, we’ll probably forget that, but Wednesday, Dec. 25 is for living, and for all the good things we have in life.

I am sure there are those for which 2019 has not been a good year, where sadness has filled their hearts. And for those who have lost loved ones since we last celebrated, let us be sure and not forget them on Dec. 25. They need to be given to the most of all. For them, their memories are their greatest gift.

Also, please don’t forget those who love you on Christmas and might not be with you in person. They’ll be with you in thought, and just a telephone call to someone who might be all alone this year is as wonderful a gift as you can give.

Of course, a special blessing to those people who will have the greatest gift of all this year will be the gift of being able to share their Christmas with all of their loved ones together.

I don’t know why, but there is no non-religious song more special to me than “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” and no movie more touching that “Miracle On 34th Street” (the original version), at this time of the year.

They both deal with hope, they deal with believing, and they deal with all the things we will live for in the years to come.

For those who can be home for Christmas, for a family who can be united and put behind them all of the every-day worries they face, this is your most special gift.

For those who have walked the hallowed halls of Jackson, Oak Hill, Coalton, Wellston, Bloomfield, Washington Township, and Petersburg high schools, gained their fame and fortune in another town, in another state, and will come back to their roots on Dec. 25, to share with us Christmas Day in Jackson County – it will be great to have you home. Your presence will make the Christmas of someone very special a whole lot happier, and there is nothing better than to be home for the holidays.

If you get a chance between now and Christmas, some night when no one else is around, there are no noises, quiet envelopes the outside and peace encompasses the inside – turn out all the lights except for the lights on your Christmas tree.

Without any sounds, any light except those on the tree, or anyone to disturb you, just look at the tree. Just admire it, and your tree will quietly speak to you and tell you the meaning of Christmas.

It will be the most peaceful time you will ever spend and the most meaningful time you will ever enjoy.

And what it will say is something like this poem I penned from my heart:

“Give the gift of giving this year,

Be grateful for the gift of love,

Be thankful for what you have given this year,

Be thankful for our gifts from above.

Peace on Earth, good will to men,

We still think that’s worth fighting for,

Be thankful for those who open their hearts,

And always keep giving more.

I know your true meaning,

Merry Christmas to you,

Thank you, Lord, for everything I have,

And a Merry Christmas to you, too.”

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Merry Christmas, everyone!