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Where is the love, ya#039;ll?

As I pondered this column space this week, I thought about the gifts under the tree and the friends and family I have been blessed with in my life.

But then I remember those who are alone this Christmas, or they believe they are alone. So what follows here is intended as an offering of hope and comfort to them.

This Christmas, I want those who feel that way to know about a gift.

Some of us get this gift daily and would never wish to exchange it.

Some of us have this gift and really want to exchange it, or we feel we never received it in the first place.

It is the gift of family.

Are you part of a family? Many don’t feel connected to a family at all. Other families are missing someone … there is a hole where another’s heart once was.

Here at the Advocate, we act like a family.

We are there for the good times and we stick by each other in the bad.

So for many of us here, we have two families, our family at home and our family at work.

It's heartbreaking to know that there are those who will be lonely during the holidays.

But we know that those people exist, or I try to remember them as I hope you do.

At this time of year, the commercial aspect of Christmas shows us all with a mommy and daddy with 2.5 children, or a happy loving couple giving each other cars or diamonds.

There are the scenes of a warm crackling fireplace, a fine family feast and enough money to buy that jet from Neiman-Marcus.

If that marks being successful, then I'm a failure.

The reality of the world is that many of us struggle to pay bills, we go forward every day despite health problems, our cars break down at inopportune times, it takes cash to warm our homes and for many there is no one to go home to at night to share the warmth of family.

So to those who have that feeling, I invite you to know that you are indeed loved.

I invite you to become part of the most healing family on earth.

A church family.

You will need to take the risk, it’s risky to trust someone’s love. But Christmas is about love, isn’t it? God’s love.

Remember in Psalms,

&uot;God sets the lonely in families; He leads forth the prisoners with singing … &uot;.) No one needs to be separated from this family.

We’ve all had our feelings hurt and been misunderstood in some church, but that happens in families, too doesn’t it? But don’t give up. Attend worship somewhere before the year’s end. Go by yourself if you prefer. Smile at someone you meet … sing a hymn or two and give thanks.

It is important to know that at this time of year, God's love is never more evident.

Think about it.

More than 2,000 years ago, a Savior was promised and on that first Christmas, when the world had no idea what Christmas was even about, that promise came to pass.

I know that in this time of war, when all we hear is negative stuff and are bombarded with images that makes us think there is no love left in the world and all you can do is ask, "Where is the love?"

Simply, look into yourself and look to others.

You'll find love again and you'll find Christmas.

And remember that you are loved too.

Jay Thomas is managing editor of the Greenville Advocate and can be reached at 382-3111, ext. 136 or via email at jay.thomas@greenvilleadvocate.com.