Christmas Greetings & Encouragement

Dear family and friends,

On behalf of my family and Undying Hope, I would like to take this opportunity to humbly express my deepest gratitude and thanksgiving for your continued prayers and support and to wish every one of you (from Annapolis, Maryland and the rest of the States to the nations) Merry Christmas! As Christmas Eve and Christmas Day usher in, I want to encourage you to welcome this season with open arms, be filled with joy and hope for a better year ahead.
I am reminded of the Christmas celebration during my childhood in South Sudan. Children in South Sudan wait for Christmas Day with great expectations and hope for new clothes and new shoes. Many parents must save up money all year to buy their children clothes and shoes as well as candies or dates for their homes. Mothers also bake cookies and cook delicious food for Christmas Day. On Christmas Eve, most children will open their long-awaited presents of clothes and shoes.
On Christmas Day, families go to church for Christmas Day prayers. Immediately after worship, kids flock to the street, going from home to home (like trick-or-treating during Halloween in the US) to collect candies, dates, and cookies. They stuff the pockets of their pants and shirts and even carry small suitcases for the Christmas gifts collection.
Most families finish the celebrations by heading to the football (soccer in the US) field to watch a football match, local games competitions, and various traditional dances in the evening. Christmas was always a day filled with love, joy, and hope. 
Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. If I am asked to choose one word suitable for the Christmas season, it would be love. The whole world has been through a whirlwind of problems and grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic for most of 2020.
To overcome such hurdles and challenges, we need more love on our planet earth. Perhaps, some families like my own will celebrate this Christmas season without a loved one or struggling against sickness, experienced setbacks, faced with financial hardships, working through solving relationship issues, or anything in between.
Whatever the case may be, we need a daily dose of love. Love is a universal language; it helps us to withstand turmoil, hold fast to hope, give us the courage to coexist harmoniously with each other, the ability to lift others up, willpower to overcome challenges. So, choose to love this season and beyond.
Until next time, take care of yourself and each other!
With much love and gratitude,

Theil T. Theil

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