A Christmas message to Tiger Woods: Merry Christmas, Tiger.  You’ve had one tough year — no wins at major tournaments and now this scandal that has humiliated you and your family. Some may gloat and enjoy your downfall, but I hope you get up, get your mind right, and do right by your family even if it means a split-up.

A Christmas message to Tiger Woods:

Merry Christmas, Tiger. You’ve had one tough year — no wins at major tournaments and now this scandal that has humiliated you and your family. Some may gloat and enjoy your downfall, but I hope you get up, get your mind right, and do right by your family, even if it means a split-up.

I do have a suggestion this Christmas: watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” by Frank Capra. George Bailey was at the bottom until an angel reminded him of all the good he had done. The angel showed him just how much the world would lose if George Bailey had never been born.

I can imagine now that maybe Tiger feels like he never should have been born — so much shame, so much sleaze, so much trash. It’s hard to imagine recovering from something like this scandal, but with time and a life change things can get better for Tiger. There is still so much for Tiger to do in the world of golf and outside it.

Some years ago, when Tiger’s father was still alive, I witnessed the power of the Tiger Woods machine. Tiger was coming to Rockford, and it was like a king was coming. At the time I was with the Rockford Park District, a lead agency for the Tiger Woods visit. Rockford is a town that has always had a love affair with golf. Tiger, the king of golf, was coming to visit, and did we ever put on a show.

Tiger is a lot about performance, but he is also about image. Then the image of Tiger was one of perfection, and Rockford tried to put on its best image for him. A street by a local golf course that Tiger was to visit was given a full face-lift.

People, especially minorities, were encouraged to attend the banquet. Rockford tried to project an image to Tiger that the city respected and valued its minority population. The deception played well. Tiger and his people were pleased, and the king bestowed his blessing on the golf town.

Image — make people believe something that isn’t really true. Image: hide the truth; believe the lie. So it was for Rockford at the time of Tiger’s visit, and so it was with Tiger the family man.

This Christmas I’m hoping Tiger and all people learn to be true to themselves. It’s too hard living a lie. This Christmas I’m hoping we all learn from “It’s a Wonderful Life” that life can be beautiful, with meaning and purpose, if we value each other as human beings. There is much more life in Tiger; there is much more good in Tiger.

Christmas is about joy, forgiveness and hope. Christmas shows that you don’t need riches or fame to be a great leader. The child born in a manger turned out to be the world’s greatest King. Power, true power, does not come from riches alone. True power comes from love, forgiveness and a willingness to fight evil at every level.

Tiger needs Christmas now more than ever, and we do, too.

Merry Christmas!

Ed Wells of Rockford, Ill. writes a weekly column for the Rockford Register Star. If you would like to comment, e-mail opinions@rrstar.com.