The approaching Christmas and New Year's holidays are a time of reflection. We tend to leaf through our memory books, recalling old friendships and joyous celebrations of the past. Looking at the wide-eyed tots experiencing their first holiday surprises, we think about the marvel of life's renewal, its hopes and disappointments.
As Marylanders count their blessings this holiday season, many are in a generous mood. Not only are they remembering friends with gifts but also total strangers. This is only fitting. The story of the very first Christmas, after all, tells us about a needy couple with a newborn child who had no place to turn but to a humble stable.
Countless Marylanders will be in need of help after the holidays, too. For that reason we urge our readers to support such FTC year-round charitable efforts as the United Way of Central Maryland, which is in the midst of its annual fund-raising campaign. More than 913,000 people -- one in three families in Central Maryland -- use United Way services annually. Funds raised from the campaign will go to support programs that address homelessness, hunger, child day-care, illiteracy, substance abuse, domestic violence, child abuse and assistance for the elderly and disabled.