This is a week of preparation. Like most families, we will be spending more time in cleaning the house, mnaking sure all decorations are in place, buying last minute gifts, and making final plans for Christmas celebrations. I hope all of your planning goes well and you are finding ways to celebrate and share with those who have less to celebrate.
Aren’t we all aware that this is a time when many are reminded of the painful events of their lives? People that they love are no longer with them. I have friends who are facing Christmas for the first time without their son … without his wife … without her husband… without a mother or father. This will be a bittersweet Christmas with empty places nothing can fill. Some have faded memories of better times, brought to life once more with tears of regret and joy mixed together on their cheeks.
On the Coast some may have memories of their homes that no longer exist. They search through boxes of rescued bric-a-brac to try to remember if their favorite Christmas decoration surivived… or a they run across a picture they tried to save, but is now covered in mildew and tossed into the garbage, lost forever. Some are reminded that because of their age and declining health they likely will never live in their homes again.
I’m sure some will remember Christmas 2005, only a few months after the destruction of Katrina. Thousands of gifts flooded the Coast and faith in the human spirit was restored. A gift that stands out in my mind came from my Aunt Sissy. When asked what she wanted for Christmas, she said that she wanted whatever money was to be spent on her to be sent to us instead. I received a card with a $100 bill in it. I knew that they could not afford this, but there it was with all the love and hope she could send along with it.
And that is why it so important to remember the Christ of Christmas. It is the signal of God to humanity that hope does not spring from human hands, but from divine. Grace entered our pitiful existence and raised our eyes to see the impossible birthed in a manger. God brought joy and salvation without our permission or the work of our hands. He eagerly shared himself with all, teaching and healing and amazing the common people. Yet powerful men hated him and murdered him in a cruel and shameful way. In spite of their treachery, on the third day His body was no longer in the grave. He shares his victory with all who will follow Him.
From a long distance the prophets saw His coming and wrote about it. Shepherds could not believe their ears as heavenly hosts announced it. A virgin gave birth to the eternal Christ, even though her family could not believe it. And make no mistake … He will return yet again, for He is not dead. They called him Jesus. He was Messiah. He is Lord and King.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
Joe Barbera died today at 95. He was one half of the Hanna-Barbera cartoon kings of my childhood. Yogi Bear, Tom and Jerry, and The Flintstones were just some of the entertainers of my youth. Of their creations, Scooby Doo was my favorite. My granddaughter still enjoys them.
More than 31,000 trailers are still in use in South Mississippi. With government housing scheduled to end in just two months, many people still don’t have a clue where they will go. Gov. Haley Barbour has requested a one-year extension, but that does not relieve the stress many are under from living in such close quarters and dealing with the criminal element in FEMA trailer parks. Read more in the rest of the article.
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