Since I'm married to a United Methodist minister we don't always get to stay in one spot for several years. I'm fortunate that we own our home and when my husband changed churches six years ago we didn't have to change homes. I'm sharing my article today that is published in our local paper ,
The Valley Times-New West Point Times-News.
Merry Christmas, peace and joy to all .
On my twelfth year of Christmases in the Valley, my truly loving son-in-law gave to me a cold night in a lawn chair watching the Christmas parade from the back of his pickup truck. Ok, so this version will never be the hit song that I sang from the cold bench seat on the Jolly Trolley at Callaway Gardens while enjoying the Christmas lights. I do have lots to sing about though when I think of my twelfth Christmas in the Valley. My favorite float in the parade was the Hairspray folks with their silly roller hats on. Perhaps because I’m from the era of sleeping with one orange juice can pinned to the top of my head at night so my long brown hair would be straight when I went to high school. I’m sorry the “sticky uppy” look wasn’t popular then …I might have been on time for school and been more rested due to less trouble sleeping with that thing on my head.
My home was joyful last week as we shared lunch with the Pastoral Institute Valley Advisory Board and celebrated their first year of success. They exceeded our fund raising goal for 2012. Greetings were extended by 437 Santas and 45 Jesus Babies, and a very happy dog. She likes to function as our vacuum cleaner after we entertain.
Another high note, remember the musical theme, are the lights from the city of Valley, Lanett ,and West Point that never cease to make me smile as I make my way home from work at night. The West Point Depot trees are another wonderful addition to the merriment this year. I also smile when I view the restored camel, donkey, and wise men in the Nativity scene across from Valley Baptist Church. I met the camel and donkey up close and personal in my neighbor’s yard when they rested after their restoration work journey. Of course, they aren’t unaccustomed to travel since they’ve survived years of bad weather and floods in their Valley location.
I haven’t ridden the Merry-go-round yet. Last year it provided merriment for one 9 year old family skeptic who thought it was “for babies”. The fried Snickers’ bar convinced the Grinch in him to smile and ask to ride again. Santa was his happy, jolly self at the Shawmut UMC Breakfast. I hope he remembers that trip to Paris this year. I know the ticket will be in my stocking soon. Santa got some help from the Christian Service Center again this year with our church participating in helping provide Christmas gifts to three families. My family had lots of fun shopping for clothes and toys for children to be with surprised with on Christmas morning.
Shawmut UMC church had the children/youth remind us in their Christmas program that some people have difficulty finding joy at Christmas. We all know that this is the case in Sandy Hook, Connecticut this holiday season. My heart goes out to all those who feel robbed of their joy. Pray for the love of God to surround them, and for the community to lift them up. I pray that your joy is apparent to you and to the world as you move through this season of Peace, Hope, Joy, and Love as we have during Advent at Shawmut United Methodist Church. You are all invited to communion on Christmas Eve at 5:30 ET. Merry Christmas to all of you. Thanks for all the encouragement you give me for writing when you see me in the community. This is truly a wonderful Valley to dwell in.
Karen Erwin-Brown is the director of the Valley office of the Pastoral Institute. She provides individual, marriage, and family counseling. Call 334-768-2341 for more information or to schedule an appointment.
Hedgie girl and her favorite momma at Callaway Gardens Festival of Lights
notice my Bama ear muffs