We are about to celebrate another Christmas, the most important holiday of the year, which causes a person to ponder many different thoughts. It is a time when the entire nation pauses to celebrate; a time when we remember the gift that was given to us which came as a baby. Christmas is the time set aside to remember this birth.
One of the things that come to mind is some of the memories of Christmas in the past, many precious memories. Christmas is the time for families to get together and enjoy the celebration. Still, it is a bad time for many who do not have anyone to be with.
It is with these thoughts and others that might be discussed in this column. It is a time when there is a great amount of things that could be said; needs to be said.
Consideration was given to title this "An Ornament Hangs on the Tree in the White House." This would be a follow up to the article written by Rayma Silvers published in the Dec. 9 issue of Herald Tribune, "FSNHS goes to Washington." Gary Hawk, Iola, Kan., designed and painted an ornament that now hangs on the Fraser fir tree in the White House. The ornament depicts two scenes of the Fort Scott National Historic Site.
The artist for the ornament is my cousin. Many in the area know him for his western, country, wild life paintings. As a result of his ornament's being selected he was invited to the White House by the First Lady, Laura Bush. He had started working on the ornament several months ago after receiving the invitation for designing the ornament. However, the agreement was that he would not announce it, until Laura Bush announced it.
I knew that he was going to the White House, but he could not tell me why. It was not until the week before he went that he told me this much. Now, really, why would an artist be invited to the White House just before Christmas, unless it did have something to do with the Christmas tree?
When it was announced that his ornament had been selected to be on the tree, I was not too surprised, but pleased and glad for my cousin. Gary said that he enjoyed being at the White House which included looking out of the front door, rather than being on the outside looking toward the White House.
He considered that the trip to the White House with his wife and three daughters was "pretty exciting." Response to the experience has been unbelievable. Coverage has included TV and news articles. His impression of the coverage is that it has been incredible.
The ornament of Gary's at the White House will remain there and cannot be reproduced. I would like a copy for our tree, but that will never happen.
War on Christmas still exists, but apparently not as bad as it has been in the last two years. Many do not realize that the holiday they are taking is Christmas -- recognizing and remembering the birth of the Christ child. Perhaps if they are doing war on Christmas, they should not be taking the holiday. Some of the stores that required their employees not to say "Merry Christmas," have backed off and putting more emphasis on the term Christmas. Contributing to the reason is that it is a good business decision.
There are still many communities and schools that are anti-Christmas. That is entirely bothersome, mainly due to ACLU. In this area, we are fortunate that we apparently do not have the problem of the war on Christmas. Also, that is so much different than what it was in previous years in our culture.
There are many wonderful things that have been happening; it truly represents the spirit of Christmas. People are helping people in many ways. It is impressive and heart warming.
An example of this is the many things that the Salvation Army is doing in the community. Many of the supporters are those who have experience being a recipient of the army's gifts and support. They express what they received meant from them; such as it was the only gifts they had for Christmas. Many are extremely grateful to the Salvation Army. There are many who are generous with their time and support for the Salvation Army that makes their efforts possible. The Salvation Army not only provides service to people in need at Christmas, but throughout the year. Any amount given to the Salvation Army is helpful.
Other programs that are beneficial to those in need at Christmas time include the Community Food Bank, Toys for Tots, which provide toys to those in need at Christmas time and The Angel program which provides gifts to older kids so that they will not be left out. These also have a large number of people, groups and organizations who generously invest time and money in them.
Happening in our culture are those making donations to charity in honor of someone as a gift to that person. This makes a good gift and those in need benefit from the gift as an honor to the recipient.
You may wonder why I would like to have a goat for Christmas. I heard on TV of a program that suggested that you honor someone with a goat and it would be given to a person in the third world country. There a goat would be a treasure to someone and beneficial. I do not know what charity it was, but I do know that the Heifer Project does give livestock to those in need and it is a good program. Therefore, I am wishing for someone to give me a goat.
Silver bells are ringing, Christmas is coming. May the Peace that Christ brought to the world be with you and that you and your family may have a Merry Christmas.