Monday, December 31, 2012

A New Year: 2013!

by Anita Sullivan

Over the past month, we’ve sung carols, lit candles, shopped, opened presents, cooked elaborate meals, talked or visited with family we rarely do, decked the halls, filled the stockings, and celebrated the season. But now that it’s time to clean the mess, pay the bills, head back to school and work, and start the New Year, what do we focus on now?

For so many people, Christmas is truly a magical time. Yet we can easily forget that in homes across our land, the magic can’t outweigh the reality that families face. In that home with abuse? It didn’t end, and may have even been worse with the added pressures. In that home with not enough money to keep things going? December didn’t change that, and guilt was felt for not providing as much as they hoped. In that home where illness casts a shadow? It still did, as families spent their Christmas in the hospital praying the New Year would bring new health. In the home where loss was felt this year? Grief still lived, sometimes with added hurt over missing their loved one through the holidays.

As I step back and look at the Christmas season from a different angle, I see that the magic truly comes from people who share God’s love, not from any tinsel or gift. There are those who buy extra presents- and gift them to children in shelter. There are those who hang lights- not just on their own trees, but on displays for the community to enjoy. There are those who sing songs- not just with their families, but for the community after many many hours of practice. There are those who serve food- not just in their home, but for masses of people who have none. There are those who give money- and not just for last minute tax breaks, but of love.

The magic of Christmas is in how much is given with nothing asked in return. The danger is that the season ends, and the needs don’t. The families still hurt, the needs still exist, and yet the giving isn't at the same pace.

As we begin 2013, consider how you gave this Christmas season, how you showed love to those who need it. Don’t let it stop because the season is over. Let this be the year of Christmas all year long.

 Anita Sullivan is the sister of a missing person, and long time advocate of victims, even before having a personal connection to the world of lost. During college,Anita found a passion for helping others and was involved in a variety of ministries. She then started a career in non-profit, first working with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. She went on to work with at risk families through a supervised visitation program before spending several years in fundraising and advocacy. She now tries to reach people with a message of Hope through writing and speaking, while honoring her brother, Michael "Austin" Davis, who has been missing since 2007. To learn more about Anita, visit her at

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