Published 11:54 pm Saturday, December 20, 2008
Christmas. It means different things to different people.
For some it is a deeply spiritual season to consider an extraordinary birth some 2,000 years ago. For others it is a time to reconnect with family and friends.
For kids, it is a two-week break from school and studies. For others, the holiday season is fraught with anxiety and want.
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Some area residents shared their thoughts as Christmas 2008 approaches.
“I think it’s a most wonderful time,” Dr. Douglas C. Carter, pastor of First Baptist Church of Burlington said.
While Carter laments that Christmas has become too commercialized, he said he does believe in giving gifts — and for good reason. God set an history-changing example.
“God gave us the greatest gift of all, he gave us his son and the gift of salvation,” he said. “John 3:16 says, ‘For God so loved the world that he gave us his only begotten son.’ He gave us the greatest gift he could give mankind. If not for Jesus Christ, there would be no salvation.”
Carter said while it is good to give gifts and think of others, he wonders what would happen if spending and presents and so forth were less of a focal point. He also wishes the goodwill at Christmastime lasted all year long.
“You bump into someone in the store (this time of year) and its ‘oh, excuse me’ and you do it in April and you’re likely to get shot,” Carter said.
The Rev. Charles Moran, pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, said this time of year reaffirms God’s love for mankind.
“We have a God who does care,” Moran said. “Every statement made about the coming of Jesus Christ begins with ‘Don’t be afraid.’”
Moran encouraged people to reserve some time as quiet time and reflect on the deeper meaning of the season.
“We need to find a moment where the name of Jesus flows from our lips with ease and confidence,” he said.
A time for family and peace
Moran encouraged people to be open to one another this time of year and encouraged people to be excited about the season and dwell on the good things in life. He said healthy thinking— dwelling on that which is good and right— is not only good for our soul but also good for our bodies.
“That sense of peace and quiet decreases fear and increases the possibility of love,” Moran said. Christmas, he said is a season for families to be together and love one another.
A time of need
For many, Christmas can be a time of hopelessness instead of hope, worry instead of joy. The Rev. Jeff Cremeans, director of the Ironton City Mission, said the mission will hand out food boxes to 703 families this year and toys to 1,200 children. He thinks these are probably record numbers.
“It’s been overwhelming this year,” he said. “It has taken a lot but the people of Lawrence County and surrounding areas who have given are outstanding. I know the economy is bad but they’ve given and some have volunteered (to help) since before Thanksgiving.”
Cremeans said this year he has had requests from several families who have never asked for assistance before.
The registration deadline for assistance requests was Dec. 5. The boxes will be handed out Tuesday.
Cremeans said he appreciated those who have made assistance to needy families possible with their contributions.
“We do help people at Christmas time but we are here all year long helping people with food and other things,” he said.
“We do need their prayers and continued support, if they can, throughout the year. We do appreciate those who give. I can’t say enough about them. They are the best people in the world, to step up and help us.”