Christmas All Year Long
My favorite holiday movie is The Bishop’s Wife with Cary
Grant, David Niven and Loretta Young. It
was made in 1947. I know many people
have a favorite holiday movie. My nieces
and nephews like A Christmas Story.
Many people watch the classic It’s a Wonderful Life with Jimmy
Stewart. Then to name a few others
there’s the Grinch Who Stole Christmas and Miracle on 34th Street. Recently, the AMC channel did a whole special
about all the different Christmas movies.
Even watching the small clips they showed warmed my heart and made me
smile. I love a corny movie, especially the Christmas movies.
Do you have a favorite? Do
you have something that you and your family like to sit down and watch once a
year during the holidays? Why? What is your choice? What appeals to you? Is it something funny or touching? Is it a classic or is it something new? In The Bishops Wife Cary Grant is an
angel. The bishop doesn’t believe it but
he’s so desperate for help that he withholds judgement and so for a brief
period of time Cary Grant settles into their lives. Henry, the bishop is very consumed with trying
to raise the funds for a cathedral and he thinks Dudley, the angel is there to
help him with that project but he’s so wrong.
Dudley has come to help Henry rediscover what’s really important to
him. It’s a similar theme as the one in It’s
a Wonderful Life. An angel has been
sent to earth to guide the suffering hero to value those aspects of his life
that he has failed to treasure, his friends and family. It’s something we’d probably all like to have
an angel come and remind us of periodically.
There are a lot of expectations around the holiday season, those
we believe others have of us and those we take on ourselves. I want to remember, no I want to luxuriate in
the season. I want the tree and the red ornaments
and the twinkle lights to stay on always, not just for the few weeks labeled
“the holidays.” I want to have
every day include the word “Christ” not just those days when I get to
say and write and hear “Merry Christmas.” I want to possess the Christmas spirit of
love and joy all year long.
This year, as for the past three years, my Small Christian
Community adopted two families for Christmas.
We do this with the help of Rachel Monteverdi. Rachel is responsible for the North Carolina
Cooperative Extension Franklin County Family & Consumer Sciences program. I have tried adopting a family on my own and
found it to be a very daunting experience but once I discovered that I could
bring together a group to make a difference for another family I was excited
and motivated and what a group we are!
My SCC has been together for over 25 years. We have a core group who has been there all
along and then we have about twenty five other people who have joined us over
the years. Like all groups we have
different levels of commitment but the one constant is their generous,
compassionate nature. We are connected
by a very strong common bond. We all
believe in our Lord Jesus Christ and we all believe in answered prayer. We have an ongoing prayer list that everyone
covers in prayer at all times and if there’s a special request, it can go out
to the group and I for one find comfort knowing I have this group of Prayer
Warriors lifting my concerns up to God.
We had two families this year.
The first one was a grandmother and a seventeen year old girl who had
been homeless last year and didn’t have any Christmas. The other family was a widower and his three
young sons. They needed shoes and
gloves, blankets and cleaning supplies.
They wanted some games, perhaps a CD or a few books. Our list includes their first names and ages
and I simply send out the list to the SCC and to my daughter and son and ask
for whom they’d like to buy. After all
the gifts arrive I fill in anything that is missing from the list, divide the
gifts by family and put the gifts into black garbage bags (for safety
reasons.) The people in the SCC went over and above in making this holiday
special for these families. They wrapped
everything and made sure there was not only the needed items on the list but
the wanted items too and if they thought of something special, like a bracelet
with a little “bling” or a remote control car for the boys, that was
in there too. This year my car held ten
bags. It was filled to the brim. My heart was filled to the brim. I am so very grateful to be a part of a group
that so willingly and generously reaches out to help others.
We won’t know how our efforts affect the families. We won’t hear anything. We have to trust that our efforts have made
their holiday and their lives richer and more joyful, perhaps even more hopeful
about their futures and about how they see the world. I know in our giving efforts it made me feel
more joyful and more hopeful. It made
me feel the same way those corny Christmas movies make me feel. It made me feel like the world can be a
kinder, gentler, more compassionate place.
The world can be a place filled with peace and love. Jesus Christ was born over 2000 years ago for
just this reason, to guide us to creating a world of peace and love. If we can hold that concept in our hearts and
minds not only during this holiday season but for the whole year, Christmas
won’t end. I may have to take down the
tree and the red ornaments and the lights but I don’t have to put away the love
and the peace that makes our lives and the lives of all those we care about,
richer and blessed and neither do you.