Newspaper Archive of
Arkansas Catholic
Litlte Rock, Arkansas
December 16, 1995     Arkansas Catholic
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December 16, 1995

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e 14 December 16, ! 995 - " ~ --~-~--~-= " ~"-~-- From the heart rt's here D the Christmas rush. Funny, but I don't have to explain what I mean by that. Everybody knows. Already we're hearing complaints from many we know who say, "Oh how I hate the holidays," or 'I wish they were over." Me, I'm not one of them. I've always loved this time of year precisely because of the holidays. I may have gotten that gift from my father. He would always come home with bags of special foods on Thanksgiving, Christ- mas and New Year's, and when he would introduce me to these tasty treats, his eyes would sparkle. If holidays could bring out so much fun in him they had to be wonderful. My mother never liked the holidays much, mainly because she thought they were a lot of work. Yet I remember how she participated. I especially remember how excited she was the Christmas when I was 5 and my sister was 7. That year she bought us dolls that said "mama." I think she got more pleasure out of them than we did. For she never No evidence of illness Watch out. It's coming. This week or next, the newspaper or TV news will diag out some windbag psychologist to pronounce the annual warning about the dreaded holiday blues. In fact, I used to give those little talks myseff until I reformed and quit pass- hag along misinformation. You expect holiday cheer,-" the sage expert will say, "but people get terribly depressed at the holidays." Watch out, the message goes: You'll probably be miserable at Christmas. one shred of sci- entific evidence indi- etes an increase in [emotional problems at holi- daytime. Bah, humbug! It simply isn't so. Mostly, people are happy at the holi- days. Not everybody, of course. If you've recently lost a family member you'll re- lr had a doll like And it was feminine and elegant. I of merchandise. [r thatwhen shewas bought it and sent it to her. I think the reason people feel so a child. Her very In mail I got a note from her. She stressed at Christmas is because too much ;I poor immigrant said, 'Antoinette, I loved the gift. I put it of the shopping is devoted to product rer parents simply on immediately and have worn it every exchange, not real giving of gifts. , could not afford day. It makes me feel beautiful." All too often ~e attitude is, "Let s get lag one ..... the list finished. We wrap up the items I~l I was quite ~ift must be given to with gold ribbons, and we leave the love young when I out. No wonder so many so-called gifts learned there was :,:: make a person feel get exchan, ged the next day. a big difference ;:, , better, more joyful, Maybe I m just lucky, or maybe plaha in things that stubborn about refusing, to enrich tMi came in the vail- ]'//E aOrfOM L/Nmore special, more beauti- chandisers who couldn t care less that ety of holidayAntoinette aoscofui -- or else it is not a gift Christmas is about celebrating a very wrappings. The important birthday. I think the best way ones that really meant something were at all, only the bestowal of to celebrate Christmas is to remember those that added to your store in life what it always has been --the love of and love. merchandise, the Lord taking on our humanness. My father's sparkling eyes turned the If I could be a child for a moment, I food into a truegift; my mother's joy in I knew from her response that the would wish that every Christmas yet to handing us the dolls was a treasure never present I sent her had been trans- come would see a change No more forgotten, formed into a true gift. It had achieved would people grumble about the shop" One of the happiest moments ever felt what a gift should do: enrich a person ping and the work. No more would we came after giving my mother a Christ- you care about. A gift must be given to be fixated on presents. But all around us mas present years ago. In one of the finer make a person feel better, more joyful, would be gifts galore wrapped in loVe stores I saw a robe on display. It was red more special, more beautiful -- or else from the heart -- to be forever savoretL and white -- colors my mother loved,it ig not a gift at all, only the bestowal Copyright 1995byCatholic News .Service ~ contain more member that person with sadness. That's only normal. But this idea of a holiday plague of depression just doesn't hold up. Not one shred of scientific evidence indicates an increase in emotional COMING OF ,AGE problems at Christopher Carstens holiday time. People have done studies trying to demonstrate the story's truth. But the evidence is simple and clear: There is no such thing as the holiday blues. I also know as much from personal experience. For years I've been schedul- ing staff for a major hospital's mental health department, and we let people take almost as much vacation as they like at Christmas because nobody wants to come in and see us. Last Christmas I worked in the emer- gency room on the evening shift, just waiting for those cases of the holiday blues to come rolling in. I read a maga- zine and did a crossword puzzle. I walked up anddown the hall looking for con- versation. I drank another cup of coffee and waited some more. Nobody came in. Boring. Boring. People do fine on the holidays. Too bad it doesn't last. You see, there is a surge in depression and loneliness, but it isn't at Christmas. It comes after New Year's Day. All the visitors go home. The food in the holiday food basket is gone. The season of hope and good cheer is over, and way too many people find themselves dreadfully alone and feeling lost. This year during the first two weeks of January, try to remember someone you know who may be feeling lonely or down. Maybe it's a new friend who just moved to your city, leaving all her old best friends behind. Maybe it's an older fam- ily member who lives alone. And maybe it's your dad, and he's riving in an apart- ment because your morn and he sepa- rated last summer. We all know somebody who feels iso- lated. You can give the most important post-Christmas gift of all, the gift of your time and attention and concern. Wait dll the week after New Year's, and then just for no reason at all, just to say hi --- invite your friend out to lunch or go visit the family member who might be feeling lonely. his year during the first two weeks of January, try to re- member someone you know who may be feel- ing lonely or down. There's no such thing as the holi- day blues, but there is a postholiday letdown. Your presence, your caring and your time may be just the right medicine for somebody who's snug- gling to get through. (Your comments are welcome. Please ad- dress: Dr. Christopher CamWns, c/o CatiW" lic News Service, 3211 Fourth St. N.E., Washington, D.C. 20017.) Copyright 1995 by Catholk News Sen, ice LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Arkansas Right to Life in need of donations to continue work To the Editor, In this Holy Season of the birth of our Savior be assured that Arkansas Right to Life is ever constant in our commitment to preserving the sacred gift of life. Arkansas Right to Life is an affiliate of the National Right to Life Committee, and has county chapters throughout the state. We are the state's largest pro-life organization dedicated exclusively to the protection of the most basic human right -- life itself. We accomplish our goals through education, legislation and political action on the issues of abortion, infanticide and eutha- nasia. We are dedicated to peaceful, non-violent and legal activities. Each January we sponsor the March for Life to com- memorate the disastrous 1973 Supreme Court decision life. We are in critical need of your help to maintain oar legalizing abortion. In the spring we hold a State Con- present level of action against these assaults on Life. vention and Rose Dinner. In the fall we sponsor a pro-life As we celebrate this blessed season and the gift of exhibit at the Arkansas State Fair. In addition to our Life, please remember Arkansas Right to Life for a annual events we also offer a wide variety of educational year-end charitable donation or become a monthly sup. resources, including a Speakers Bureau, that assist in porter. Donations to Arkansas Right to Life are not t# raising public awareness regarding the value and dignity deductible, however, tax-deductible donations can be of human life. made to the Arkansas Right to Life Educational Trt# The increasing demand of our work has created a Fund. Please mail your contribution to ARTL, P. O. severe financial drain on our limited resources. Unlike 1697, Little Rock AR 72203. our pro-abortion adversaries we receive no federal fimds Every dollar of your gift will be used to help restOre for our work. We rely entirely on the generosity of our the sanctity of human life to all. supporters to keep our state office open and to inform Robert D. Burr our members and the public on the latest attacks on President