OK everyone. We are officially in Christmas season.
Of course, the Branson Christmas season started a little earlier, but now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, it is definitely time for the month-long holy season known as Christmas.
I’m on board.
And why wouldn’t I be. This is the time of year for gifts, decorations, carols, hot chocolate (or mulled wine or spiked egg nog, if you prefer – which I do) and holiday specials on TV. I realize not everyone is into all that stuff, but I am. I’m up for all of it.
I’m on board.
The pandemic necessitates that this year’s season will be different. To a large extent, we won’t be able to have the same shared experience with our loved ones, but it is still a special time of year. We might not be able to get together as we’d like, but Christmas is not canceled. As we all know, this holiday does not exist for egg nog alone.
Those holiday TV specials can be silly, but there is a real-world reason all the Whos down in Whoville were singing despite being left with a crumb much too small for a mouse. And Linus got to the heart of the matter by reciting Luke 2: 8-14: “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this [shall be] a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
I bring all this up to say that, if you are reading this, you probably have it pretty good. Yes, life can be a pain in the seat right now, but most of us have plenty of reason to sing, and plenty of reason to wish for peace on earth, and good will toward men.
But many in our community are not as fortunate. This is not the time of year to be selfish. This is a time of year to look outward and realize there is a broad, often dark, world outside of your own bubble. The Tri-Lakes area, especially heading into winter, if full of those who have trouble providing for themselves or their families. They depend on a multitude of charitable organizations in to order to have a roof and in order have food. Now they are heading into the winter months in the middle of a pandemic. I can’t imagine.
Christmas is bigger than any one of us, and our community depends on valuing all individuals. Let’s be on board with that.
The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle drive is underway. There are many locations at which you can give – even if it’s a little.
There are many organizations and agencies in the area worthy of receiving donations. Your church or school might have a program for helping families in the area. Otherwise, here are just a few of the agencies that help, with some phone numbers, if you would like to check them out.
Christian Action Ministries food pantry
My Neighbor’s Pantry (Forsyth)
Christian Associates food pantry Kimberling City
Christian Associates hotline