By Joseph J. Mazzella

I was looking at some photo albums today. That is where us old folks used to store our pictures before smart phones were invented. Anyway as I was going through them I found a worn and dusty one at the bottom of the pile and opened it gently.

As I slowly turned the pages I suddenly saw a picture of my beautiful daughter, Beth, that instantly grabbed my heart and transported me back in time.

It was 25 years ago. We were in a community center of an old coal town. The little children were all waiting for Santa to arrive. My daughter was only two and a half years old and this was her first time meeting Saint Nick. Most of the other young children seemed scared and uncertain when he first walked into the room but my daughter’s eyes lit up. She clapped her hands and laughed. She jumped up and down. She sparkled with happiness. Maybe it was that she was used to beards because one of her grandpas had one. Maybe it was that it was her uncle under the red, Santa suit. Whatever the reason at just that instant we took the picture and forever captured that moment of simple joy, sweet innocence, and fearless love.

Whenever the problems and hassles of the holidays start to bother me I think back to that moment with my baby daughter and remember again the spirit of the season. It is that fearless love that another baby in a manger so long ago came here to teach us. It is that fearless love that we can carry in our hearts not only at Christmas but all the year long. It is that fearless love that can still save this world and make it into the paradise it was always meant to be.

May your heart always be free of fear and full of love. May you share the light in your soul with everyone you meet. And may you make the rest of your life here a Christmas celebration of caring, sharing, giving and loving.