With all the bad news we've seen, is there any hope for a better future? Hillary lost. Donald is still arrogant, (but he is our president). Numerous others are accused of sexual improprieties. Congress is at a standstill and can't get anything done. The world situation is under a dark cloud. Is there any hope for peace on Earth?

Our nation is divided as much -- maybe even more -- than it was during the Vietnam War. Protests, demonstrations, riots and shootings have dominated the news. People are finding fault with anyone who disagrees with them. The negatives keep building and building. Crime is up, especially with Christmas approaching. (It is every year during the season.) Why? Have we lost the true meaning of Christmas? What happened to Joy to the World ? And Peace on Earth -- Goodwill to Men ?

Where is the Christmas spirit? We see collections for holiday meals, toys, coats and other needs for the less fortunate. But there should be more to the spirit of Christmas. Santa Claus may be part of the holiday, he always has been. But so has the birth of our savior Jesus Christ. We've just gotten away from the Jesus part with everything else that is happening.

Selfishness and arrogant attitudes seem to be the norm, but still there is caring and sharing. Do some people just not "get it?" The Christmas season is about joy, happiness, faith and love. Then why are there so many problems and divisiveness? Has the commercialization of the season taken over from the seriousness and true meaning of Christmas -- of the birth of Jesus ? We've taken religious references out of our schools, off public property, any comments about faith or beliefs are "forbidden" in any public setting, not wanting to "offend" anyone. But that is "offensive" to those who believe. Why are the vocal opposing viewpoints able to infringe upon beliefs and rights of the rest of us? Just what is happening? And why?

We need to truly respect each other's beliefs and not be offended when people express holiday greetings. The holidays are supposed to be a time to celebrate our beliefs and our faith, not a time for bad feelings because someone might be offended. Every religion has its holidays and special days, days and seasons which have significance to that belief. In a country where we have the freedom to express our own religious beliefs, there is too much, "you can't do (or say) that" because someone might take offense to it.

Keep in mind, such greetings are an expression of faith. The First Amendment to our Constitution reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ..." Soooooo -

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all !

Joe Average

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Herb Dettmer is a retired BG resident, U.S. Army veteran and writes this monthly column representing the viewpoint of "Joe Average" citizen. He is a freelance writer and author of "Others," a devotional book. Comments? Call or text "Joe" at 419-494-4641.

Opinions expressed in "Joe Average" are the writer's own.

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