During this happy, holy time of year, we proudly — and without apology or hesitation — present to our readers the accurate, uncensored, and politically incorrect Christmas Story as written so beautifully and so eloquently more than 20 centuries ago by Dr. Luke.

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. — (Luke 2:1-20, KJV)

That’s about as simple and as powerful as it gets, folks.

Will you join me in committing to take time this week — to make time amongst all of our busy-ness — to remember those less fortunate ... to check in on our elderly, sick, disabled or lonely neighbors. So many will spend this time alone, hungry, sick, cold, and feeling abandoned and depressed, sometimes due to actions of their own making and others because of circumstances beyond their control and through absolutely no fault of their own.

The Bible exhorts us who call Him Savior to extend a hand of non-judgmental, non-critical love and compassion, especially at times like these, to anyone in need.

We should remember, after all, that it could just as easily be you or I in their shoes ... suffering from an incurable illness, a debilitating injury, the loss of a job, one of our children or grandchildren going to bed with an empty belly with no hope of a present under the tree on Christmas morning and a single mom with no way to pay the electric and gas bills, hurting from desertion or abandonment, or still grieving over the loss of a loved one.

All you have to do is look around Hawkins County. Trust me ... you won’t have to look very far because the needs are many, and right here under our very noses.

Take time, too, to remember in your prayers our soldiers, the men and women serving stateside and around the world, often in harm’s way, who wear the uniforms and bear the arms of the U.S. Military to keep us free. Many of them are away from spouses and children this Christmas, and to them we send our prayers, our thanks, and our full support of their missions.

Remember our law enforcement officers, firefighters, ambulance personnel, hospital staff members, electric linemen, gas utility personnel, road and bridge crews, those who drive wreckers, who pilot and staff helicopter ambulances, 911 dispatchers, jailers, Rescue Squad members and every other emergency service provider or “first responder” who will be at their posts throughout the holidays — often with little to no time off to be with their own families — so that they can serve us and our families.

And if you don’t already, and if you can, consider making it a priority to gather with your family on Christmas Eve -- no matter how many or how few --and reading aloud Dr. Luke’s “Christmas Story”, giving thanks to the Lord whose Son’s birth we celebrate.

Peace, my friends, and a Merry Christmas to all!

Tommy Campbell is Editor/Publisher of The Rogersville Review. For comments or  just to chat, E-mail tommy.campbell@therogersvillereview.com.