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The Manger Square in Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on December 17, 2019. Image Credit: Reuters

Today, billions of people around the world will be celebrating Christmas Day. While the origin of the festival has its roots in Christianity, Christmas has morphed into a time when many, regardless of beliefs, celebrate the joy of giving.

In the northern hemisphere, Christmas provides a bright and cheery celebration of family and friends at a time when winter is at its longest, the light of days shortest. For those who live in the southern hemisphere, Christmas marks the height of the summer holidays, a time to make the most of the long leisure days of summer. For those living in South Western Australia, the hectic wildfires burning there, however, offer little chance now to fully appreciate the best the Christmas season can offer.

In the shopping malls bedecked with Santas, cotton snowballs and glittering tinselled trees, there’s a sense of joy — that Christmas is a time for celebration. Yes, it is the busiest travel time of the year. Between Christmas and the New Year, millions take to the skies, travelling around the world to make sure they are home to spend time with family and friends.

It is also a time to show all others that yes, we care. Every one counts. And everyone deserves to be remembered.

- Gulf News

On the trains of many nations, carriages are full as travellers try and beat the Christmas rush to get home — but inevitably become part of the rush itself. And on the roads that join our cities and towns, villages and rural communities, all are just trying to get home to where their heart truly is, where they can celebrate in the true spirit of Christmas.

But what is this true spirit of Christmas? It is far more than glitter and snowmen, and sleigh bells. In the trenches of the First World War, it was enough to bring a truce between ordinary soldiers, to forge a football game in No-man’s-land, to bring together enemies in a spirit of peace.

For many of us it is a time to celebrate what brings us together, what unites us, those we love and care for. That is why we take to crowded planes and trains — and sit together and spend time with those we love.

It is also a time to show all others that yes, we care. Every one counts. And everyone deserves to be remembered — every day of the year and not just on December 25.

Merry Christmas to all our readers.

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