5 Things to Know for Your New Day — Wednesday, December 25

Posted at 5:40 AM, Dec 25, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-25 07:40:15-05
By Saeed Ahmed


(CNN) — It’s Christmas. And whether you celebrate it or not, we’re sure you can get behind the spirit of the holiday — it’s about hope, about love, about believing in the impossible.

With that in mind, here are the “5 Things to Know for Your New Day.”

1. When we pull together, wonderful things happen

Any other day, we’d talk about the partisan bickering in Washington, and how it’s at a fever pitch.

But today, let’s focus on how people with good intentions, a whole lotta heart and a can-do attitude can make a world of a difference.

Take 8-year-old Laney Brown. She’ll never see Christmas again. Her doctors say leukemia will take her soon. As one of her dying wishes, she wanted some people to come by her house for a night of caroling. And boy, did they! At first it was hundreds of people, then thousands. Then it was 10,000!

2. The best presents aren’t under the Christmas tree

On this Christmas Day, about 150 Marines are standing by to fly into violence-wracked South Sudan to help evacuate Americans. Keep them in your thoughts.

But today, let’s talk about military homecomings — those joyful reunions that make you reach for the box of Kleenex (or, if you’re old-school, your hanky).

Take Air Force Maj. Jason Wood’s middle school daughter. She thought she was attending a pep rally when out he popped from a giant gift box.

3. Don’t be a Grinch

Any other day, we’d tell you about the loud noise that was mistaken for gunshots inside a Long Island mall and triggered a brief lockdown — all apparently due to a clumsy shoplifter. Or the Washington Santa who was out delivering gifts to needy kids — when he was shot with a pellet gun. Or the UPS backlog that may mean missing gifts for you.

But today, let’s not be a Grinch. Not even about the commercialization of Christmas, because some of those commercials are pretty sweet.

By now, you’ve all seen the genius stunt by Canada’s West Jet, where it asked boarding passengers for their Christmas wish — and then delivered the gifts at baggage claim. A new Apple ad also does a nice job of tugging at ye olde heartstrings. It’s about a teen who spends the entire holiday season playing on his iPhone, with a aww-inducing twist at the end.

4. Family comes first — always

We write about heartbreak every day. That’s because we get our hearts broken every day by stories such as that of the volunteer firefighter who responded to a fatal car crash Tuesday night — only to find the victim was his daughter.

But today, let’s focus on the mother who took to Facebook to have her son’s ashes scattered so he could “see the mountains that he never got to climb, see the vast oceans that he would have loved, see tropical beaches and lands far and away” — and how strangers from India to Jamaica responded in droves.

Or on the little girl who used sign language at her Christmas concert so her deaf parents didn’t miss a thing.

Or on our very own Ed Payne — a regular writer of this blog — whose daughter flew home from Tanzania to surprise the family on Christmas Eve. “I picked her up at the airport unbeknownst to Laura and Corynne. I said I was going to work, but I lied. I hope she forgives me.”

We’re thinking, Yes!

5. War is over if you want it

A brutal civil war in Syria. A near-genocide in South Sudan. Bloody attacks in Iraq. And on and on.

This Christmas, let’s borrow a page from John Lennon’s songbook and save one wish for the world:

A very Merry Xmas

And a happy New Year

Let’s hope it’s a good one

Without any fear

War is over, if you want it

War is over now.

™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.