2016-12-22 / Opinion


Keep Christmas Well, Newport

From our desks at Newport This Week, we have spent the year covering the diversity of Newport’s news and people, observing and reporting behavior and issues that have ranged from the ridiculous to the sublime. We can honestly say that from what we have observed of the community’s capacity for both celebration and compassion, Newport this time of year approaches the sublime.

As the 12 days of Christmas and Hanukkah’s eight-day festival of lights rapidly approach – in tandem this year – it is tempting for us to wonder what more could we write about. What more is there to add to yet another story about images of sugarplums, menorahs, or peace on earth?

The answer is nothing.

Every year we greet the season, happy and willing to resurrect and celebrate everything from the religious to the secular to the purely familial. From Christmas in Newport, Santa sightings and Christmas tree lightings, Newport is lush with tradition and a soaring spirit found in the many places of worship and the nearly 50 Christmas Eve services scheduled (see page 12).

We haven’t had a white Christmas since 2009, and according to the local weathermen, this year that non-tradition will continue. But in all the other overlays of the holidays, the spirit of giving and thanks, expressed in myriad faiths, remains as strong as ever.

But it does go deeper than that. We have much to be thankful for, in this beautiful City by the Sea. And we give in return. Throughout the fall we have reported on Newport’s network of service organizations. During the month of December, nearly a dozen “helping agencies” have worked tirelessly in their efforts to ensure that children and families in need throughout the island are fed and secure.

In the final scene of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” the author signs off on Ebenezer Scrooge, the man with the resurrected heart who, after a restless night’s sleep, found joy in reconnecting with family and his community: “And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge.”

As a community, we keep Christmas well.

From all of us at Newport This Week, Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah! Savor time with friends and family, reflect on all things you’re thankful for, and drive safely.

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