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It's Christmas Eve — the eve of the one day a year most of us give in to sentimental memory, awesome faith and the belief that there really is peace on Earth. Somewhere. Some day. Even today, every day — if we would make it so.

Sure we get caught up in the retail rush and frantic scheduling, but there's no denying that in part we do the crazy stuff for the few precious moments of peace and love we always hope to find at Christmas.

At its essence, Christmas gives us an understanding, even if for just a few moments, that when we genuinely love and hold one another in our hearts, simply saying so is far more eloquent than any other gift that we could give or receive.

Why else do we love the story of that cranky, old, broken Scrooge? He embodies our hateful, shattered world, but on Christmas he is made whole by realization, repentance and love.

All any of us really want for Christmas, after all, is to love and know we are loved, and to imagine a world that lives up to the purity of love and good will — a world that accepts Santas of any color and language. And yes, "ho, ho ho" is universal. We aspire to a world that understands that whatever faith we harbor in our hearts is neither superior nor inferior, a world that is accepting and heedful of the needy, the homeless, the refugees, the shunned, the different. After all, even the child we celebrate and revere on this day was once all of those things.

Christmas is about a spirit — a feeling of oneness and reverence; a time of family, friends, laughter and good food; an opportunity to reflect, find redemption, worship, seek solace, love and feel loved.

Christmas is the gift we give from our hearts — the giving of moments, love, kindness, respect.

No matter our religions, our religious holidays — whatever their date — make homage to a common humanity and maker. Our faiths, no matter their name, offer us help us understand that while the world is complicated, it also is simple. We all have the profound essence of faith, the power of prayer and the values of peace and goodwill.

So on this eve, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Feliz Navidad, Seasons Greetings, Good Cheer.

And peace on Earth. Good will to all.

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