John Kass: Remembering what matters on Christmas Eve

For everyone in hospitals praying for dignity and relief, and an end without shame or suffering. For the physicians who care. For the nurses who'll enter the rooms tonight, and pull up chairs, listening to quiet confessions.

For the clergy, including those who have struggled with belief yet find it again and are renewed.

And for every sailor at sea, especially those on watch on the bridge, staring into cold black water, remembering brightly lit rooms.

For the members of the U.S. armed forces who protect us with their bodies and their lives. And for members of the U.S. Foreign Service and intelligence services who risk themselves for us. For their loved ones, who wait.

And for those Americans who died in Benghazi. For the children and adults killed at the Sandy Hook school and their families.

For our great nation, and our people who never, ever quit.

To those of you whom I've hurt with my stupid and thoughtless words on my bad and strident days, I'm sorry. And to those who give this column a chance and visit with me in the mornings and send me letters and email I share with my wife. Betty and I can't thank you enough. But thanks again.

And for everyone who keeps hold of what is important about this night:

It is that message brought to us by the child who came to light the world, that perfect child born in that manger in Bethlehem so very long ago.

He is the gift.

And it is all about love.

And I hope it comes to you, and comforts you, and remains.

From Betty and me and the boys, from my brothers and their wives, from Yia-Yia and her seven grandchildren, from all of us to all of you and yours.

Merry Christmas.

jskass@tribune.com

Twitter @John_Kass

CHICAGO

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