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Still the Best Present of All

The Inter-Mountain photos by Shannon Bennett Campbell Multi-colored Christmas decorations like these at Mountain Valley Bank help lift spirits and bring smiles.

ELKINS — If we think “Turkey Day” was topsy-turvy, just wait ’till we begin to tackle Christmas. I have wrestled with the thoughts of this for a couple months now trying to calculate where all the restrictions will leave us. I remembered an old Marine Corps mantra my husband has often said to me, “Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.” I believe if we keep this in mind, we can salvage the specialness of the season.

With assurances that acceptable virus vaccinations have been developed, we have that for which to be thankful. For the sake of our children and all who love Christmas, we must find ways to celebrate the holiday, because it must be.

We might not be able to experience our little ones singing Christmas carols at a school concert, but we could stand them apart on a neighbor’s porch or front-yard and share some well-known musical selections.

Nor will we have the opportunity to watch our high school and junior high bands go by in a Christmas parade, but we can make sure we hear the beautiful songs of the Tabernacle Choir Monday, Dec. 14 at 9 p.m. on West Virginia Public Television (Suddenlink Channel 6) and spend an hour engaged in one of the very best musical Christmas Shows offered.

Our reservations about taking our children to malls where Santa visits with all the patrons are real, so some serious letter-writing to Santa Claus might be in order this year. I know he will be at the North Pole to receive each one. While he may get a severe case of eye-fatigue reading, I am assured he will be up to the challenge. His many elves can assist.

Deeper area snows will provide more recreational opportunities for outdoor December fun.

And, some other experiences that will count over the holidays are just taking drives to view all the decorations people will lavish on their properties. The many bright colors and shining lights are very good for elevating one’s mood.

An evening (or two) of testing some good baker’s cookie recipes is always a pleasure, not to mention those special pecan pies and made-from-scratch brownies that are usually found during this confectionary frenzy.

Maybe no Christmas cards have been sent for a few years. How many distant relatives or lonely, older people would be delighted to hear from someone? Even forwarding an updated family photo so interested others could share in your lives this Christmas might be very cheerful.

If the weather cooperates, as it usually does, some serious snowmen and snowwomen could be crafted. And while being deliberate in your building, construct a few snowballs to throw at your best friend for fun, knowing that the gesture will be returned and probably with no mercy. At least, this is the way it went whenever my old neighborhood friends’ club got together.

Another event I recall from my youth is sled-riding. At the end of her work week, my mother would dress us warmly and take us out into a blustery winter’s night to ride our sleds. We would come home to hot chocolate and warm molasses cake and recall some of our best rides down the hill without wrecking or falling off the sled. One never wants to forget this kind of fun.

Former Elkins resident, Barbara Morgan, enjoys Christmas cookie selections like these of Otterbein Church’s Joy Circle.

And, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and he will make a visit this year.” We attribute this line to the movie “Miracle on 34th Street.” Children can be assured Santa will be out in the night’s sky and children everywhere will see that this good soul remembered them. And I hope everyone will tune in to all the many Christmas movies that help us remember this is such a “giving time” with good will toward all.

While millions of Christians throughout the world are in many cases missing attendance in their Church sanctuaries and places of worship at the very time of the year they would want to view the altar’s creche, they are isolated to their own hearts for knowing and loving the Christ child whose birthday we celebrate Dec. 25.

It is important to teach those younger what the true meaning of Christmas is. It is necessary for God’s work to be done in this needy world, and our understanding, loyalty, and commitment to fulfill His mission cannot be underestimated.

We may have to take time to learn, so we may teach. We may have to practice saying what we think, so we can preach. We may have to do with less, so others can have something more.

But, do not doubt that any efforts made to share God’s message to the world will be met with welcome by our Maker.

Davis & Elkins College Dining Hall Chef Melanie Campbell welcomes Santa Clause during a gift delivery.

The sights and sounds of Christmas will be everywhere. Watch for them and absorb their specialness. Share them with others, even if during the safety of a phone call. God’s own bright lights will be evident throughout this time as we look to Him amid stars above.

This Christmas, take time to open a Bible and share with the family the story of Christ’s birth found in Luke, Chapter Two. Explain who spent their entire life filling the world with kindness and love. Impart an expectation that they must try, also.

As this year is different, it may speak volumes about what the true meaning of Christmas is, and understanding more about the miracle that took place in the manger might be the best present we could give in 2020 A.D. Blessings to all.

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