Focus: Christmas is...

Christmas time is sometimes hectic and full of expectations of what will happen through the holidays.   As Christmas comes closer, we sometimes forget the four words hope, love, joy and peace used in our Christmas Advent.  For many, there does not seem to be hope.  Some folks do not feel loved.  Joy is not always felt and peace never seems to come.  Hope, Love, Joy and Peace need to come from within us. Love begins with us.  If we do not love ourselves, how can we love others? When we feel lonely and do not find hope in our lives, we need to reach out to those who might need someone to make them feel special.  When joy and peace seem unattainable, find the joy in your heart and the peace you find within, and share it with someone who needs it more than you do.  When you reach deep within yourself, you can make a difference in the life of someone else, which in turn will give you joy and peace.

Sometimes when life is hectic, we find ourselves grumpy and less likely to feel joy. I look forward to the Christmas sign in the front yard of Chapel Hill on Kanawha Hill.  As I pass Chapel Hill UM Church, I see the huge JOY sign in the front yard.  This sign is very large, beautiful and shares light to all, no matter what time of day they pass the church on their journeys.  When I see “JOY” all my problems and grumpiness just disappear.  I feel joy in my heart.  How can a sign make you feel such joy?  I just want to thank Pastor Helen for the idea that this “JOY” sign needed to be seen in front of our church for people everywhere to know that there is joy, and it needs to be felt within each one of us.  I do not believe anyone can go past this sign without feeling joy.

Joy is felt by those in our community who give from within.  If you do not have the feeling of joy, just attend one of the Christmas Cantatas, programs or plays presented by many talented singers and musicians throughout the area. Music can make your heart warmer and you will feel the Christmas love and joy provided by those who love to share their talents with the community.  

Joy can be yours by attending the Christmas Dinner at Chapel Hill, provided by many local men, women and youth who will give up part of their day to share in serving anyone who wants to have a special Christmas dinner.  If you are alone, do not feel you can make a dinner, and want to have fellowship, you are invited to attend.  If you have families coming to your home and you want to provide something for this special dinner, call the Parish House for more information.  You may also call the office at Chapel Hill for more information. Volunteers are always welcome.

     Everywhere in Buckhannon, you see, hear and feel Christmas. The lights, windows, people’s homes, churches, schools and special presentations will make you aware of this Christmas season. If you are on Main Street at night, you will feel joy as you drive all the way down Main Street till you reach College Avenue.  The street’s light poles are wrapped in lights and red bows.  Those who decorate our downtown are to be commended for their planning and execution during this Christmas season.  If you are driving through downtown, you might just see the wagon rides as they go through the area to see the homes all decorated. Walk through Jawbone Park and see the wonderful signs of Christmas. Take your family around the area and see the beautiful decorated homes.  Those who love Christmas want to share their hope, joy, love and peace with others. 

Folks still have time to stop by the Parish House and donate food or dollars for those who need food baskets for Christmas.  The Salvation Army can also use food items and gifts for their Angel Tree.  Many churches are sharing with those who are in need.  Find a church and see how you may help make someone’s Christmas special. There are many organizations who are making holiday treats to sell and raise money for special projects.  Don’t forget the Backpack Program for those who need special items, even when they are out of school.

Check the local newspapers, radio and tv for places you can make a difference in the community. Channel 3 will have special Christmas programming and have a schedule each week in The Record Delta. You will see concerts, plays, ballet and Christmas theme specials presented by local talent.  Folks, we are so blessed to have the musical talent, the artistry and volunteers, who just want to spread joy to all.  Thank you for your talents and devotion to Upshur County.  You are appreciated.

As we wander through this Christmas Season, let us take a few moments to think what Christmas means to us.  Let us find the time to share our joy with others.  Let us focus on the hope we have for another new year. Let us find the hope, love, joy and peace in our hearts, and spread it to all those around us.  Let us remember that the real reason we share this Christmas Season is the baby that was sent to us to be the light of the world.  God loved us so much that He sent Jesus, to save the world.  Let the light of Jesus shine in our lives, so we can make a difference in the lives of others. 

Christmas is…. family.  If you know someone who is all alone, make time in your schedule for a visit and take something you made just for them.  When you and your family get together, make Christmas time a time of memories.  Do you have something special to you that might be passed on to make new memories? Family history is special; pictures are a great gift to pass on. Start a new tradition for your family Christmas, one that you look forward to next year.   Many folks do not have a family, or their families live far away. If you live alone, invite some of your friends to join you this Christmas.  Family can be friends who share memories and time together. Friends can make new memories together. Everyone deserves hope, love, joy and peace.  Christmas is…love for all…joy in sharing…hope for the future and yes, peace for our world.

Here are some special thoughts written by various unknown authors.                                         

Christmas is a time of joy, a time of love, a time of peace – a time for giving thanks to God for miracles that never cease.  Christmas is a special day to remember those whose warmth and kindness have blessed our lives in many ways.

Believe in the mystery, the miracles and the magic.  Believe in angels and natural wonders, and the beauty inside people.  Believe in a bright-and-shining new year ahead. 

     As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, may we remember the hope that is ours because He lives…the joy that is ours because His presence is with us…the love that He showed when He gave His very best.

Christmas is Love...Share God’s love through your love.    Christmas is Joy...Share your joy with family and friends and know that God is with you.  Christmas is full of hope and peace...God gives us peace which gives us hope for the future.

Christmas is the celebrated birthday of Jesus, who gives us the hope, joy, love and peace through His light.  He wants us to share His light with all those around us.  What a wonderful gift Jesus’ light can be for everyone to share.

I leave you with this thought from Romans 15…  May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace in believing.   

And finally, Christmas is a special day to remember you and wish you “The Lords’ Blessings.”

“Merry Christmas” from my family to yours.   Carol 


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