While I was waiting for the magic of Christmas to begin, I noticed several grouchy ole' Scrooges desperately trying to steal it away from those of us who still believe. With non-stop negative news filtering through every source of media, it's really beginning to look like we're going to have to go to extreme measures to keep the twinkle in Santa's eye.

I can’t help but let out an occasional Ho-Ho-Ho to myself, because if these folks believed in the true meaning of Christmas, they would hang it up, along with their stockings and perhaps get something in it besides coal.

I'm not saying these aren't hard times with so many things to worry about, between mass shootings and who’s going to be the next Hollywood star or politician to be in the spotlight for choosing to be naughty instead of nice. Perhaps if we hold tight to believing in the splendor of Christmas, we could lift the gloom that’s threatening to dampen our spirits.

If you doubt the jolly old man isn't around anymore, knowing whether you've been bad or good, naughty or nice, think again. It doesn't matter to Him whether you have the money to buy presents or where you live. What He brings to you is free and all He wants in return is for your heart to say, "I believe."

Since He has already paid the debt for us we shouldn’t have any worries or anxieties of having enough money to pay for this gift – the faith of the spirit of Christmas.

When you believe, Christmas can become a time of reflection and solitude and the celebration goes way beyond listening for eight tiny pairs of hooves on the roof. Believing takes on a life of its own, swirling and curling through every aspect of living and it truly is the one gift that will keep on giving.

I believe in miracles. I see it every day, everywhere and in everyone.

In the midst of crisis, there is always a shining light, if you look for it. I see it in the eyes of those who share their heart and love unconditionally. I hear it in the voices of those who never give up hope, despite their hardships.

Truly believing, with all my heart, in someone I can't see, hear or touch is a rough and bumpy sleigh ride. It’s more disappointing to realize how many others have given up on the miracle who was born on Christmas Day.

Wishing others a Merry Christmas doesn't mean you need to load up the sleigh with a bag full of toys. Share the spirit by forgiving those who need forgiven, and even those who don't deserve to be. Be the first to say you're sorry and mend the wounds of yesterday.

Enjoy the splendor of Christmas, believe in the reason for the season, and when you get overwhelmed by it all, eat another piece of pumpkin pie. It works for me.

-- Sandy Turner lives in Independence. Email her at sandydownhome@hotmail.com