Behold: I have been given another Christmas

Published 11:35 pm Thursday, December 24, 2015

By Garland O. Goodwin


My last year’s Christmas column was composed while I was recovering from my second re-plumbing of my pump. Dr. Stephen Ely has given me the promise of several more Christmases, and I am grateful for all the members of the medical profession who rallied around to give me this wonderful extension of life. Yes, I know it is better “over there,” but I like it here, so I am in no hurry to verify that!

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We also celebrated our 60th wedding anniversary during the festivities, and we are happy to report that people did indeed come from far and near, and that they overflowed daughter Sharon’s Suburban van with food for Outreach as instructed in the invitations.

I have written so many Christmas columns that I have to think hard to come up with new thoughts. I imagine that our clergy have a similar problem, until they realize that the “old story” never changes and all they really have to do is tell it over again. After all, our job is only to proclaim the Good News: God will do the rest!

We will go to one more TubaChristmas (it is today as of this writing) and have our Christmas spirit renewed as only they can. As former mayor of Columbus, Kathleen McMillian said, “If this won’t get you into the Christmas spirit, nothing will!”

Next we will take part, together with our entire Columbus Lions Club, in bringing Christmas cheer to our Visually Impaired Persons (VIPs). We will visit all of them that we know about, bringing all manner of goodies to brighten their season.

Several of them always ask if we have their little Christmas tree ornament, which Fran spends a month or so cross-stitching. This may be the last year for them, because no one manufactures the little frames any more. Fran obtained these on eBay!

We will also go up to the Marjorie McCune Memorial Center near Asheville, built by the WNC Lions as an assisted living facility for Lion VIPs. Not finding enough Lions, they opened it to everyone. We have gathered a carload of goodies for them, too. Fran makes individual Christmas cards for the 75 or so residents, and I will tune Priscilla Eichelberger’s piano that she offered to me “to find it a good home” when she closed her home on Miller Mountain. She was delighted when I sent it to McCune to replace a very tired old one in their chapel.

“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.” I do not have a problem with Santa Claus because I believe that he is a living symbol of Christmas giving. I was raised with highly decorated Christmas trees and the expectation of getting lots of presents. I was always treated to a bountiful Christmas dinner, usually at Mama Rippy’s big house, with all the cousins, aunts and uncles adding to the festivities and to the pile of presents under the tree.

As I grew up, a lot of things changed: my location, my own growing family, and the emphasis at Christmas. I learned somehow that it really is more blessed to give. I am happy that I am able to give and not reduced to being able only to receive. I am pleased that I was born in this wonderful country and taught by so many to love and to serve.

So I join with Santa in a resounding “Ho! Ho! Ho!” and a “Merry Christmas” to all. I also join my many preachers and Sunday School teachers in proclaiming “Joy to the World” for “Christ our Savior is born this day.”