Merry Christmas, readers!
It's not often that Christmas falls on Sunday, so today is a rare opportunity to extend Yuletide greetings of the season to our friends and readers on Christmas Day. It's also significant that the observance of Hanukkah takes place in the midst of Christmas, which makes it a special time to give best wishes to our Jewish friends and readers.
Despite all the cares and woes of the modern world, the holiday season remains a magical time. It's a joy to observe small chldren participating in a Christmas play or looking upon the figures in the manger with expressions of reverence and wonder. It's delighful to see a youngster, with his or her eyes filled with a sense of awe, lighting the candles on the family's menorah.
After all the hustle and bustle of preparing for the seasonal celebrations, it's a pleasure (and perhaps a relief) to pause and savor the simple joys of the season. This past Tuesday, some dear friends from church and I joined residents and staff from the Children's Home of Wheeling for caroling at Peterson Rehabilitation Hospital and Geriatric Center and in the neighborhood of Hamilton Avenue and Orchard Road in Wheeling. As we ventured from house to house, several residents appeared in their doorways or on their porches to listen to the Christmas carols. A good time was had by the singers and the listeners as well.
As we walked back to the Children's Home for hot chocolate and cookies, several of the adults mused about the fun of engaging in simpler celebrations such as caroling. "We're making memories," remarked Louise Paree, executive director of the Children's Home of Wheeling.
While we may decry the over-commercialization of Christmas and Hanukkah, we must also realize that the holiday shopping season is a "make it or break it" time for retail merchants. Sales of merchandise, including items that one might regard as silly or even tacky, help to keep our neighbors employed and put bread on their tables. It's good to see area residents following trends to shop locally and to support independent merchants in the community.
Amid the clamorous celebrations, after the brightly-colored presents have been opened and the feasts have been enjoyed, may we all find a few quiet moments to reflect upon the beauty of the season, to savor the true meaning of the holidays and to put the beliefs of our faith into action. May all of you, dear readers, have a blessed holiday season.
Wheeling native Chelsey Keding and her fellow castmates from the off-Broadway production of "Voca People" appeared with host Kelly Ripa on a special Christmas-related edition of the "Live With Kelly" morning television show Tuesday.
Keding, who lives in New York and pursues theatrical and musical endeavors in the Big Apple and elsewhere, is a graduate of Mount de Chantal Visitation Academy.
I heard reports on Public Radio International last week that there is a severe shortage of butter in Norway this holiday season. It's a serious problem for the Norwegians, who love to bake and who, of course, need real butter for making their traditional Christmas cookies and cakes.
It was reported that the limited quantity of butter now available in Norway is being sold for $10 to $20 a pound. So, be thankful that you live in a land where butter is plentiful and available at a relatively reasonable price.
Continuing on the topic of food, remember the wise words that someone once uttered: "Live, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we shall diet!"
Linda Comins can be reached via e-mail at: Comins@news-register.net