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Forging the chain we will wear throughout our life

So this is Christmas, and what have you done?


John Lennon wrote those opening lyrics for an anti-war Christmas song he recorded in 1971 – but the question is more universal. What have we done in this time of giving?


It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday hubbub. Our time is spent decorating the tree, baking cookies, mailing cards, finalizing travel plans and fighting the crowd at the shopping mall to dutifully buy our gifts. How much time do we spend actually giving – and how often do we give to others outside our family and close circle of friends?


Not as much as we could, or would like.


So it was heartwarming to see at least two instances of young people giving to others – to strangers – this Christmas. The Middletown Area High School football team bought Christmas gifts for a local family in need, a gesture the Blue Raiders have made for the second consecutive year.


This year the Middletown Area School District’s junior high wrestling team raised $300 to provide Christmas gifts and dinner for another local family.


If those two deeds aren’t enough to give credit to the younger generation for its compassion, there are more. The Middletown Area High School and Middletown Area Middle School wrestling teams raised $2,385 for the family of missing Cedar Cliff High School wrestler Medard Kowalski, who did not return from a canoeing and hunting trip on the Susquehanna River on Dec. 1. Kowalski’s father is a 1983 Middletown graduate and former wrestler.


And many other young people – high school students, college students and young working-class people – as well as people who aren’t so young donate time or money to a variety of causes, from food banks to Toys for Tots.


It seems like the holidays sweep down upon us before we realize they’ve arrived. Amid all the preparation, let’s remember others at Christmas however we can. To paraphrase Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol":  We wear the chain we forge in life.