This has been a difficult year, and unfortunately the holiday season has been no exception. Every part of celebrating has become more complicated, from heating our homes to having presents under the tree.
Families are on track to pay $3,500 more for essentials just to keep pace with rising prices. That doesn’t leave much wiggle room in household budgets for those extra expenses that pop up around the holidays, like gifts (wholesale prices are the highest on record), or a nicer cut of meat for Christmas dinner (beef prices are up 20% from last year alone). Even holiday traditions that many of us take for granted, like having a Christmas tree, have been thrown into flux by supply chain issues.
All these factors make for a more stressful holiday season, especially for parents trying to provide a memorable Christmas for their families. It’s during times like these—when finding that holiday spirit seems a little more difficult—that I’m reminded that Christmas should be a time of renewed faith in our family and community.
After all, the holiday began with one divine gift: the idea that the Holy Spirit could be present with us here on Earth. It’s present in our everyday acts of kindness and charity. I’m so grateful for the men and women who have brought this spirit to life here in the Sixth District.
Once you notice them, it’s hard to stop. Flipping through our local papers this week, I’ve read about Agape Warriors Ministry, who will be serving 1,000 Christmas dinners at the east side VFW Post 4847 and delivering meals to groups like Quiet Oaks Hospice House. I have seen the success of Place of Hope, which this year increased its shelter capacity for those experiencing homelessness by 40-60%. I am inspired by the work of young people like St. Cloud Technical & Community College Leadership Club, who led a donation drive for the women and children who have found safety at Anna Marie’s Alliance.
It’s affirming to see our community standing together to lend support to our neighbors in these difficult times. I’m hopeful that our nation will be able to correct the course on the difficulties we face. Until then, we can be proud that the spirit of the season is alive here at home.
Congressman Tom Emmer represents Monticello and Big Lake in the U.S. House of Representatives.