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Christmas wishes on minds of many

TICONDEROGA While children may have visions of sugar plums make that Nintendo Wii dancing in their heads this Christmas season, adults have other wishes. My wish is for peace, hope, joy, health, happiness and laughter!, said Barb Brassard of Moriah. Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind so my wishes are not only for Christmas but for throughout the year. Brassard is the Essex County Empire Zone coordinator. Cathie Burdick, the executive director of the Ticonderoga Festival Guild, has a more practical wish. Snow is drifting from the sky this morning and we know it is winter, but Festival Guild members are thinking summer and lining up programs for families and children to enjoy, she said. Second only to peace in the world as a Christmas wish, I would like to see the guild on a sound financial footing and able to present the arts in Ticonderoga for many years to come. Others, like Richard Nadeau of Ticonderoga, long for years gone by during the holiday season. My Christmas wish would be to put Christ back into Christmas and go back in time when we had a shorter, less stressful Christmas shopping season in a once prosperous downtown Ticonderoga, he said. Many share Nadeaus wish for a more spiritual Christmas. I love this time of year., said Pastor David Hirtle of First Congregational Church in Crown Point. For me, it is a time when I can sit back and remember fondly the memories of family and friends; Christmases gone by that will live forever in my heart. Bolstered by those radio stations that begin to play the old familiar carols at Thanksgiving, the ads in the paper for this and that as well as the bell ringers outside of the major stores looking for donations. All of this, combined with the sense of good will that appears to flow from many, makes this a time hope for me. His wish? I wish that we could internalize the feelings that we seem to find during the Christmas-New Year season and carry these same feelings into the year ahead, Hirtle said. I have been bi-vocational for most my career, he added. Having spent the past 35 years as a pastor; mostly in smaller parishes, the other half of my career spent as a social worker. One thing I have learned is that people are hungry, they are in need of kindness, shelter, clothing and justice more than just at this time of year. While the winter conditions often place a strain on resources, the need for lifes essentials remains a constant. Why is it that holidays seem to move us more than every other time of the year? Hirtle told the story of a child on a family vacation on a tropical island. A severe storm hit, forcing the family inside to shelter. When they returned to the beach the child found thousands of starfish washed up on the beach. One-at-a-time the child started to place the starfish back into the water when a man approached. That is useless, there are too many of them, the man told the child. It wont make any difference, there are too many of them. Placing a starfish into the sea, the child answered, Made a difference to that one. Hirtle said the lesson is that people can make a difference on lives of others. While many focus their generosity and kindness only during this time of year, the recipients of these overtures need to experience the goodness inherent in each of us on a daily basis. he said. The truth of the matter sees that if we would continue to share from the reservoir of love and generosity found in our hearts on a regular basis, we will make a difference to those who are desperate for such a resolve. Perhaps if we were to resolve that we could be an instrument of change in our communities what a difference there would be in our world, Hirtle concluded. While it is true we cannot resolve all the issues of need in this world by ourselves, we can meet the needs of those who are challenged, one person at a time. Together, we can bring life to Christmas and hope to many each day of the year! May we come to see and believe in the potential of each act of kindness we have the opportunity to perform. Together we can bring hope to those in need.

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