MIAMI, Florida – Christmas is perhaps the most celebratory event in the Christian calendar. Christmas Day is bundled with several holidays celebrated between the end of November and the end of December, which include Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Eve. Since these holidays include other religious commemorations, to be inclusive, this period from Thanksgiving to the New Year is simply called the holidays, but to Christians, it’s the Christmas season.It seems Christians, representing a large percentage of the South Florida population, are more adamant this year to emphasize that the season commemorates Jesus’ Birth. On several occasions, people offering “Happy Holidays” greetings have been rebuffed by the pronounced response, “Merry Christmas,” and this year more retailers have hung “Merry Christmas” banners instead of those depicting “Happy Holidays” as occurred in recent years. Greeting card stores are also selling more Christmas cards, rather than “holiday” cards.An interesting comment was made by a local Pentecostal pastor that the challenge of recent times is driving more people to seek hope in Christ, hence the reemphasis on Christmas. “People need hope more than ever these days,” said the pastor. “They are hoping for jobs, saving their homes from foreclosure, to get better salaries, have stronger families, find love; and they see this hope exemplified in the Christmas message with the commemoration of the birth of Christ, the Messiah born to bring hope and salvation to a sinful world.”People of different religious beliefs may disagree with his view, but it seems that Christmas, and the season that surrounds it, generate a degree of hope and optimism among a large percentage of the population wherever Christmas is celebrated.During Christmas, many people are more generous. Individuals who complained of being strapped for cash during the year find funds to spend on friends, relatives and themselves. People who were otherwise strangers during the year become more friendly, offering pleasant greetings for joy, blessings and happiness to each other. Generally, people become more charitable, reaching out to feed the hungry, and offer gifts to the poor, especially children, who would otherwise receive no gifts.However, people also tend to lose their sense of reasoning during the season, spending relentlessly, not heeding caution that this heavy spending will leave them in debt during the new year. While such spending augurs well for the economy, it depletes the personal savings of individuals and families who cannot afford this loss. However, many people get caught up in this environment of generosity, and harbor hopes that the new year will bring the blessings they prayed for during the passing year to compensate for their excesses during the Christmas season.But Christmas is not permanent. The festivity ends abruptly, especially in America, where at midnight on December 25, Christmas disappears like Cinderella’s coach, replaced by the pumpkin of reality.After all the glitter is cleared, and the visiting relatives return home, everyone has to find the most realistic means of coping with the challenges of their respective lives. Nonetheless, Christmas serves as an important reminder, and, like the pastor said, offers hope to a burdened people.The season proves that kindness, a spirit of sacrifice and goodwill, and a real attempt to reach out to the less fortunate is realistic. While most people won’t be able to spend without limit, they can share the true spirit of Christmas, regardless of their religious beliefs. They can continue to love and respect each other as they want to be loved and respected.This should be the legacy of the Christmas season and Christmas Day.May this message resonate long after the season ends.
The World Cup semi-finals are live on talkSPORT on Tuesday 10 and Wednesday 11 July at 19:00 (UK time) here.Of the players left in the World Cup, this is the most expensive talkSPORT.com could put together.This lot cost so much money that we couldn’t find room for Luka Modric (£33m), Eden Hazard (£32m) or Raheem Sterling (£49m). 5 SUPERSTITION Learn the words for England’s catchy Gareth Southgate song 5 ‘It could have been me’ – Allardyce admits World Cup was tough to watch Good times LATEST WORLD CUP NEWS Pure class misery 5 That midfield isn’t cheap to put together A reminder to Liverpool fans about the very comical threat Neymar offers MIDFIELDKevin De Bruyne: Man City spent a then club record £55m to bring De Bruyne in from Wolfsburg in 2015 and in 2018, he dazzled in the City side as they won the Premier League.Thomas Lemar: He signed a contract with Atletico while on international duty with France and the transfer is a reported £52.7m. He’ll join the club after the World Cup.Paul Pogba: For a time, Pogba’s £89m move from Juventus to Man United in 2016 was a world record, but it was soon broken. These strikers cost a fortune diamond geezer You’re the one The most expensive World Cup team of players still involved Arsenal star Laurent Koscielny admits he didn’t want France to win World Cup GOALKEEPERJordan Pickford: England’s penalty hero in the last 16 against Colombia was at it again in the quarter-final to deny Sweden. It is a remarkable rise for the 24-year-old, who joined Everton from Sunderland in a £30m transfer in 2017. At the time of writing he has played just eight times for England. Pickford was the star of the show during England’s win on penalties against Colombia Paul Pogba buys France World Cup winners specially designed rings LU BEAUTY Shy guy 5 NO JOY Watch every goal England scored at the 2018 World Cup Why does Luis Suarez kiss his wrist when he celebrates a goal? Southgate makes young England fan’s day by replying to his letter Dele Alli reveals pre-match rituals and lucky charms he has before matches Olivier Giroud confirms N’Golo Kante is the nicest man in football Fallon d’Floor FORWARDSKylian Mbappe: In 2017, Paris Saint-Germain signed Mbappe on loan from Monaco for the season, with an option to make the deal permanent for £165.7m a year later. He is still only 19, but has shone in Russia.Romelu Lukaku: Man United paid Everton £75m for the striker in 2017 and he has shown his credentials as one of the best in the world at this World Cup with four goals so far.Ousmane Dembele: Barcelona paid Borussia Dortmund an initial £96.8m in 2017, which had the potential to rise to rise to £135.5m. He struggled with injury at first, but the 21-year-old recovered in time to 5 The most expensive defence in the World Cup semi-finals DEFENCEKyle Walker: He joined Man City from Tottenham in a £50m transfer and won the Premier League in his first season. Normally a right-back, Walker has been playing in the centre of England’s three-man defence.John Stones: Man City paid Everton £47.5m for the centre-back in 2016 and he has thrived under Pep Guardiola where he won the Premier League in 2018.Samuel Umtiti: Barcelona picked up the defender from Lyon in 2016 after he had played for France in Euro 2016 final.Benjamin Mendy: City spent big on full-backs last summer, with Mendy arriving from Monaco in a £52m deal. Sadly, he spent most of this debut Premier League season injured, but recovered in time to make France’s squad.