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Christmas begins and ends with a simple touch

mcneir | 12/22/2011, 11 a.m.

If this were a perfect world, the approach of December 25th would bring the proverbial visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads. We would be waiting to take that annual trip over the river and through the woods to grandmothers house. Wed be singing songs by Kirk Franklin like Jesus is the reason for the season and preparing to open boatloads of gifts and eat until our hearts desires. But this is not a perfect world. Many people fight depression the blues during the holiday season because life simply doesnt match up to their hopes and dreams. Someone in Liberty City will spend the day all alone, perhaps eating a frozen dinner while watching reruns of holiday movies that, unlike their lives, have happy endings. Estranged couples may attempt to reconnect for the sake of their children, family and friends, only to realize that the problems that caused them to separate remain unhealed. One of the most tragic yet least talked about problems that occur throughout the year and which are most keenly felt during the holidays is the pain experienced by children whose parents are incarcerated. For these boys and girls, toys, iPads, computerized gadgets and turkeys with all the fixings might be on their wish list. But at the top of their list is the hope that they can have just one day to hide themselves in the arms of their mothers and fathers. The one quality that all humans share from the moment we are born is our need for the touch of another human being. One local group, Children of Inmates, took young children and teenagers from Liberty City, Little Haiti and Overtown to several of the jails and prisons this week along with hundreds of toys. There the children were allowed to touch their moms and dads and have a few moments of normalcy in their lives lives that are anything but normal. The volunteers who give their time, talents and donations to such groups are indicative of the true meaning of Christmas. Someone needs to know that they are not alone, that the mistakes they have made can be corrected and that love for all humankind still exists. It begins with each one of us, one person at a time. What will you do to make Christmas merry for another?