My wife treated me to a pre-Christmas date night this week. We went to the Opryland Hotel in Nashville for the Lorrie Morgan Enchanted Christmas Dinner and Show.
The meal was delicious and the music was great. We had a real good time together. We enjoyed walking through the hotel looking at all the greenery and the Christmas decorations. And the dinner and show were really a special treat.
We went up to Nashville earlier that day to do some Christmas shopping at Opry Mills Mall; and our granddaughters will be the recipients of our purchases. I'm sure they will be pleased.
This time of year is special for most people who celebrate Christmas. I know it is for the Dezotell family.
But, I know that for some people the Christmas season may not be as festive as it is for others.
My daughter told me about a young, single mother who is unable to provide any kind of Christmas celebration at all for her little boy. Her son is my granddaughter's age, and they won't have a Christmas tree or pretty lights on their house. There probably won't be presents to open on Christmas Day unless someone helps them out. Laura said she wanted to help, and she asked me what else could be done.
I told her that there are various organizations here in town that do help families in need for Christmas. There is a listing of these organizations at the beginning of the Community Calendar in the Times-Gazette.
You can read about the Toys For Tots program, City Outreach Ministries, Christy's Cuddlies, Community Outreach Partnership, Good Samaritan, and other coats, toys and food collections that are available to help the people in our community. The contact information is in our daily newspaper.
Many churches in our community have special programs to help people at this time of the year.
Mt. Lebanon United Methodist Church just delivered food boxes to people in need. Church members brought these goodies to people's homes and sang Christmas carols and shared God's blessings with them. This is an annual activity that is appreciated by many folks.
When I was a little boy, there were times when my family received food boxes and Christmas assistance from people who cared. After my father died, my mother struggled to make ends meet, but the church and others in the community were there to help.
A special inter-church program enlists church families in Bedford County to sign box upon box of Christmas cards to distribute to every resident of the area nursing homes. The organizers want to make sure every one of the men and women in these centers receives Christmas wishes from someone.
This is a special time of the year for most of us, especially for those who celebrate the Christ of Christmas. After all, Jesus Christ is the real reason for this season.
We celebrate the birth of our Savior, the Son of God who came to save mankind from their sins.
Jesus said in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
We celebrate the gift of Christ, and the gift of eternal life; the greatest gift of all.
I want to invite you to join me on Christmas Eve for a special Candlelight Communion Service at Cannon United Methodist Church. You are invited to bring your family or loved ones, or come yourself, and share in this special celebration of the gift of Christ. We will sing Christmas carols and share in the Lord's Supper surrounded by the light of many candles. The service will begin at 8 p.m. The church is located at 1001 Cannon Blvd.
I pray that your Christmas will be blessed. Be a blessing to others and share the love of God with someone in need.
Doug Dezotell is the pastor of Mt. Lebanon UMC and Cannon UMC. He is a former staff writer for the Times-Gazette, and he is a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a friend to many. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.