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Dark days lit by kindness

People should be forgiven if their level of Christmas cheer fails to match yours this time of year. Winter can be depressing. Getting up in the dark only to leave work at the end of the day facing the same blackness takes an unconscious toll.

People should be forgiven if their level of Christmas cheer fails to match yours this time of year.

Winter can be depressing. Getting up in the dark only to leave work at the end of the day facing the same blackness takes an unconscious toll.

As the mercury drops close to zero, so too can our patience.

Shopping frenzy adds a whole new level of stress to what nature throws at us, and this year we're faced with an onslaught of negative news about economic uncertainty.

But that's exactly why it's important that in this, the darkest, coldest, most challenging month of the year, that we take time to remember the good things in life, be courteous to each other and spend time with those we value most.

Put simply, to be part of a larger community. It's no coincidence that nearly every culture in colder climates seeks to shine a light just when the days are shortest, whether it be the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah, the Hindu holiday of Diwali, ancient Pagan solstice celebrations or Yalda, the Persian winter solstice festival, which celebrates the defeat of the forces of darkness, frost and cold, and heralds the coming spring.

On this, we can all do our part. A small act of kindness can go a long way to making someone's day brighter, and we should keep in mind ourselves that no matter what we're struggling with this holiday season, this too shall pass.

After all, the days are only getting longer and there's a new year approaching.

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