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Everybody's Column

Many forget Christmas isn't all about presents

I'm sure the theft of Christmas gifts from Gateway-Longview upset us all. But I wonder if we're missing something. Where is the message of why this happened and what's wrong with our world? What causes someone to do this and what is the real meaning of Christmas? People who do despicable things suffer from a lack of Christian values and ideals.

When I hear someone who has lost gifts say, "there'll be no Christmas this year," I'm puzzled. Is it all about the presents? I don't think so. With or without presents, I want my kids to know that Christmas is a celebration of Christ's birth. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us. This season and all year round, we should model the Lord's example of self-sacrifice for others.

The people who replaced the gifts are great examples of the spirit of the season. But I hope the kids at Gateway and all of our children realize it's not about the presents. Christmas is about the gift that only comes from a heart centered on the Lord: the gift of love, joy, hope and peace. The greatest gift flows from his heart to ours and can never be stolen.

Russell D. DeFazio

East Aurora

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Church of Holy Sepulcher was temporary burial place

Regarding the caption on the bottom photo of the Dec. 17 Escapes and Getaways, Christian tradition does not hold that the Church of Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem is the final resting place of Jesus. Christians believe Jesus rose on the third day, Easter Sunday. The Sepulcher was a temporary burial place. I would hope that even in the travel section, such a gaffe could be avoided. One need not believe it or promote it, but Christians certainly do not believe it was his final resting place. That said, it was a nice article.

Rev. Peter M. Calabrese

National Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Fatima, Youngstown

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Good Christians would welcome poor families

I would like to send a Christmas message to the Town of Wheatfield residents who are Christians and oppose the building of 65 housing units for poor families because it will devalue their homes. Jesus was poor in material possessions, but he was rich in everything that mattered.

The Bible teaches us three important lessons. Seek and you will find these important lessons in the Bible: Love your neighbor. Whatever you do to the least among you, you do to Jesus. And when a person dressed in fine clothing and a person dressed in rags comes into your church, you should treat them both the same.

Don't be hypocrites and celebrate the birth of Jesus, because you wouldn't want him in your neighborhood. And I know Jesus wouldn't want to be there.

Gloria Almeida

Amherst

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Thieves put a damper on a special tradition

Everybody knows the story of the Grinch stealing the spirit of Christmas. Well, my family and neighbors have experienced the feeling of some modern-day Grinches. Every year we take pride in putting up our Christmas decorations, and our street always looks wonderful.

It's a shame that three out of four reindeer came up missing between two households, and the fourth one was damaged. This is our favorite holiday season, and someone took away part of a special tradition.

It may sound petty to complain over a $20 reindeer, however, that was our way of sharing the spirit of the season with those who pass by. People shouldn't have to wonder if the decorations in front of their home are safe in the night. To all of those who have had a decoration stolen, I now know how you feel. And to those who steal the decorations, you have dimmed the light of the season that shines from within them.

Rena Lombardo

Buffalo

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Tale of missing Jesus was superbly written

Bravo to Dan Herbeck for providing us with the side-splitting item about the missing Baby Jesus statue in the Dec. 19 News. I laughed so hard it hurt!

This was the most entertaining newspaper story I've read in a long time. Superbly written, it grabbed my attention immediately. I hope the Leisings were also able to get a good laugh out of it.

Pat Russell

Hamburg

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Donating to charity keeps spirit of the season alive

Instead of getting upset over the "Happy Holidays" versus "Merry Christmas" debate, how about donating a few extra dollars to your favorite charity? It's a much better way to keep the spirit of the season alive. It's also a good way to defuse your irritation. Everybody wins.

Lukas Hoffmann

Williamsville

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Christmas concerts were truly delightful

On Dec. 17, my husband and I tuned in to Time Warner Channel 13 and were treated to a half hour of delightful Christmas entertainment preformed by students from private and public schools in Western New York. We heard music from a steel orchestra, symphonic band, string orchestra, concert choirs, righteous ringers and others.

These elementary and high school students were from many areas of Western New York, and we were delighted to see them dressed in formal wear, uniforms, robes, etc. It was disappointing to see one of the groups unprepared for TV exposure, possibly caught at rehearsal, dressed in jeans and short denim skirts. We must keep music programs in our schools that teach discipline and integrity and, most of all, the love for fine arts.

Rosemary Fantaske

Blasdell

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Embracing differences makes our nation strong

Last week, a writer expressed dismay at the vast numbers of "alien peoples" who have entered the United States of America, and predicted that civil war would result as in Yugoslavia and Iraq. My question is, how is allowing immigration now any different than what the United States has been doing since its inception?

We pride ourselves on being a "nation of immigrants," where people from all over the world have been able to coexist and live peacefully. Anyone who has taken pride in visiting Ellis Island, or tracing a family tree back to relatives from another country, shares in this tradition.

The reason that the United States is different from the countries cited by the author lies in our attitude toward our differences. Rather than seeing a people of various cultures and backgrounds as a threat, we have embraced these differences and turned them into our strength. I do not see why allowing immigration now will result in any greater risk to national unity than it has in the past few centuries.

Sharon Weiss

East Amherst

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