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Opinion: Here's why we need Christmas

Merchants around the world depend on the Christmas season each year for 20 to 50 percent of their yearly sales.

The travel industry from airlines to gasoline stations see a nice bump during the holidays. People are going to buy plane tickets and buy gasoline.

Grocery stores do better during the holidays. People cook more for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year. The alcohol industry does well during holidays. Wine, beer and bourbon whiskey all do well normally, and more so during December.

Charities and churches enjoy December. People give more money to the church in December than any other month. People who want to give make sure their gifts are given by Dec. 31. Churches normally have special children and music programs during the month that increases attendance.

Counselors see a spike in activity during December. More people are depressed during the Christmas and New Year's Eve holidays than any other time of the year.

Funeral homes are busy in December and January. Check your local funeral home obituaries for last December and January and you'll be amazed at how many funerals took place.

Fitness centers and gyms across the country prepare for their biggest month of the year, which is January. Millions of people will drag into their local fitness center and sign up for a 12-month membership. About 50 percent of these people or less will only use their memberships a few times during the year, but will be stuck in 12 month contracts.

Christmas is a profitable time for many, it seems.

The greater value of this wonderful season comes with the opportunities of Christmas.

You have a good excuse to call or visit people. Christmas is about personal relationships and connecting to real people. The Christmas story is about a personal God who came as a real person to help real people with real needs.

Christmas is family time. Don't exclude anybody. God is inclusive. He came to love all the people of the world. There are always people who feel excluded, unloved and seem to be the ragamuffin person in the family. No one is perfect. Everyone has failed in different ways.

Christmas is a different day. Stores, most restaurants, workplaces and businesses are closed on Christmas. What are you going to do? Be happy, reflect, give thanks and don't feel sorry for yourself. Take time to focus on the one that so many Christmas songs have been written about, "Christ, The Savior is born."

We need Christmas because we need The Savior of Christmas. We need peace on earth and good will to men. We need a silent night and a holy night. We need the Joy to the World as sung in the famed Christmas carol. We need to know the grave is not the end. We need to have the hope of eternal life. We need help to deal with our grief and strength to face tomorrow. Jesus came to give us this and more. That's why we need him and the message of Christmas so desperately in our lives.

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