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The season for sharing and joy

Lori Falce
Lori Falce nmark@centredaily.com

’Tis the season.

Across the country, around the globe, on Christmas Day, the very spirit of the day compels a feeling of warmth and a yearning to be our best selves.

In Centre County, we are no different, because ’tis the season.

It is the season for taking care of others.

For weeks, schools and churches, offices and businesses have been boxing up food and buying up toys, knowing that there are families whose Christmas dinner might be an empty table, or kids whose Christmas morning might not have the magic of a filled stocking.

In Centre County, the donations are in the tons of food, the mountains of toys, the thousands of dollars to charities that make people’s lives better. Citizens Bank announced this week that the football buttons that are a tradition among Penn State football fans generated more than 4,000 pounds of food and $5,700 donated to the State College Food Bank. And that was just one of dozens of drives.

It is the season for sharing, even in adversity.

For many, already tight belts get tighter at Christmas. Not only can there be too much year left as the money runs out, especially as some seasonal businesses stop operating for the winter, but there are those who make an extra effort to cut back for themselves just to give to make someone else’s Christmas sparkle.

The Philipsburg Fire Department is a small local group of men and women with dwindling numbers and less money than they really could use to do the important, and unpaid, work of making sure that people don’t lose their homes or businesses or lives to disasters like fires. But one crisp Sunday in December, the company sponsored a movie at the Rowland Theatre. The price was just a dollar, and donations to the local food bank.

It takes hundreds and hundreds of dollars to outfit just one firefighter to properly walk into a burning building. But the department’s coat drive right now is not about buying the new equipment for their own safety. They are asking people to give coats to keep area kids warm.

It is the season for holding tight to those we love.

That can be a challenge. Let’s face it. While family members can be the best part of Christmas, they can also be the most stressful. But whenever we lose someone, it’s hard not to look back on that last time you sat together around the tree.

But what we can’t lose are the memories. My grandmother’s grasshopper pie, my husband’s total inability to wrap a present or keep a secret, former Philipsburg mayor Sandra Martin’s Christmas parties filled with enough decorations to stock a gift shop. We can’t keep the people we love forever, but there is nothing that can dim the twinkle of what made them so special to us.

It is the season for joy.

Joy seems like it might be easy. But sometimes, it is something we have to reach for instead of waiting for it to come to us. It can be easy to become overwhelmed with the bad things that happen.

But happiness is a choice we make, and a gift we give, to ourselves as well as others. And it is one we all deserve to find at Christmas.

So, from all of us at the Centre Daily Times, to everyone who opens our pages or clicks on our links, anyone who reads our stories or appreciates our pictures, thank you for all that you have given to your community in 2015, and we wish you a very merry, healthy, giving, loving Christmas.

Lori Falce: 814-235-3910, @LoriFalce

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