Despite recent tragedy, Christmas is a perfect time to reflect on peace

Each year our Christmas wish is for peace throughout the world. Our hope is that that we could view Christmas and the holidays through a child’s eyes. As we read through the avalanche of Letters to Santa (see special section this issue) before forwarding them on to the North Pole, we can just about recapture what a magical time it truly is.

The tragedy in Connecticut, however, serves as a sobering reminder that there are still children, even in our own country, that have yet to feel that peace. It’s our job to make sure our children feel safe at school and the national conversation is focusing on guns, mental illness and what can be done to protect ourselves from these kinds of incidents.

Locally, school safety was one of the topics of the Oroville School Board at their meeting on Monday night. Reporter Brent Baker also talked with the superintendents of the Oroville and Tonasket school districts about that subject and writes about it in this issue. In a column on this page, Baker, whose wife is a teacher in Tonasket, recalls how his peace of mind was shaken years back when he heard about a shooting at a Michigan school. That’s all we’ll say about the Sandy Hook School tragedy for now, but we’re sure to learn more as the story continues to unfold.

We often forget just what Christmas time is about, or at least what it should be about. Many of us get so caught up in the rush of trying to get everyone gifts that even taking the opportunity for a few minutes to think about the reason for the holidays can be missed.

While we’re not against presents by any means – they can be a great part of the holidays, especially for the kids. And, if your lucky enough to have children or grandchildren around you know what we mean. The delight in a child’s eyes as they tear open their presents or look in wonder at holiday decorations are memories that can last a lifetime.

However, we invite our readers to step back from all the commercialism and remember that Christmas represent the birth of Jesus Christ. While peace on earth should be something we strive for year around, this is the perfect time for anyone, Christian or not, religious or not, to reflect on the good of mankind and the ongoing struggle for peace on earth. A time to consider what we can personally do to help achieve that goal in our neighborhoods and communities.

This Christmas many families around the country are receiving one of the best presents they could ask for as troops come home from Iraq and the president’s promise that our part in the war in Afghanistan will end by 2014.

So, whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Ramadan or something else, we at the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune wish you peace this holiday season.