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It is Christmas 2020, and it's a year unlike any we've ever known: Amid the hush of social distancing, COVID-19 runs amok in a time also infected with the most poisonous political climate of our modern history.

Still, this is a special season. Whether we call it Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan or something else, it is in our hearts. In our spirits. It is us and we are it.

Divinely, divinity is up to us.

Most of us in America call it Christmas, and it is the one day a year when many of us give in to sentimental memory and an awesome faith that there really is or will be a peace on Earth. Somewhere. Some day. Even today and every day — if we would only have the determination to make it so.

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

We say this every year, but isn't it true?

The one thing Christmas offers us is an understanding that when we genuinely love and hold one another in our hearts, simply declaring that love — for each other, our world and this season — is far more eloquent than any other gift we could give or receive.

Isn't this why we love the story of that cranky old Scrooge, who embodies our hateful, shattered world but in one night is made whole by realization, repentance and love?

All any of us really want is to love and know we are loved.

We want to believe in a world that lives up to the purity of love and good will — a world that accepts Santas of any color, a world that understands the faith we harbor in our hearts, no matter its flavor, is neither superior nor inferior, a world that accepts that if we don't believe at all, we're still humans who love. And isn't that love in itself an affirmation of what Christmas is all about?

No matter our religions or traditions, this is a season that pays homage to a common humanity.

Our world is complicated but also simple.

This is a season about a spirit — a feeling of oneness and reverence; a time of family, friends, laughter and good food; an opportunity to reflect, worship, seek solace, find redemption, find companionship, give love and feel loved. Based on our beliefs and our hearts, it also is a promise we can make with ourselves for today, tomorrow and a new day after that.

So Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Eid, Feliz Navidad, Seasons Greetings, Good Cheer. Peace on Earth. Good will to all.

The message is divine. The understanding is up to us.

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