This is time to change things for the better
I believe John Lennon's, "So this is Christmas," is an appropriate way to start this letter. It is Christmas all over the world.
As I acknowledge this, I can not help but wonder, "Which country and/or who are the people that keep and honor Christmas in the most fitting way ?"
Is it the United States? If so, is it because we have 10 percent unemployment; due in part to the fact that so, so many of our Christmas gifts come from other countries? Is it the fact that our very own government can not agree that all Americans need health insurance? Is it the fact that U.S. troops are fighting and dying in two countries,? Is it the fact that after well over 200 years of being a country, we still have bigotry and prejudice ?
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We must come to some understanding that we can not continue to purchase almost everything that is made in other countries. We have got to understand that U.S. troops are also moms, dads, sons and daughters. Our troops need to be brought home - now. As for the bigotry and the denial of health insurance, I believe these go hand-in-hand.
Perhaps this Christmas will be the start of better times in our country. If we all truly understand the real meaning of Christmas, we can change things for the better.
TIM MONROE BLEDSOE
Salvation Army keeps spirit of Christmas
In the spirit of holiday giving, I have a special place in my heart for the Salvation Army. Like many of you, earlier in my life I knew very little about this organization except to see them outside of stores at Christmas.
For almost 25 years, I worked on various congressional staffs in Washington, D.C., Mississippi, Oklahoma and South Carolina and one White House staff. Many times we all had to assume some "casework" duties in trying to help our constituents. The thing about this charity that stood out in all of my experience was that the Salvation Army never once said "No" to our requests. It didn't matter if it was only a $10 check for food to help a family eat or another situation in which an under-privileged family needed brain surgery for their small child.
The Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign was born in 1891 and today, they are one of the world's most recognized charity fundraisers with more than 25,000 volunteers spread throughout our country. More importantly, they estimate that 83 cents of each dollar donated goes directly to benefit someone in need. Please remember them during this holiday season.
The manger child changed everything
On Meetze Street the Christmas Tree will be lit, and we bring the "The Two Clinched Fists" of the baby Jesus in the manger scene, juxtaposed against the exploiters of payday lending, the drug use and the hopelessness of the former blighted street.
Further, let us take the Christ child to the lonely, the abused, the HIV positive in the Broad River Road prison, and even more, take him to the folks who profile people all over this state, nation and world. Let us take the Christ child to those who surf the Internet to get their false religious fix. Additionally, let us take the Christ child to all the forgotten people, the outsiders, the marginalized, the oppressed, the wounded in the wars, past and present, and many more of the forgotten.
Finally, let's remember the people of Ephesus, perhaps one of the great cities of the ancient world, who heard about this child called Yeshua, and even under the oppression of the Roman Empire, those tiny clenched fists of that manger child changed everything with eternal hope. So now we can cope with the dope, and the rope and the slippery slopes of our own day. Let us meet at the Meetze manger scene and look at the two tiny clenched fists as if it were for the first time.
DR. ALBERT E. JABS
Be responsible with holiday cheer
The holiday season is here and I would like to send this thought: If you choose to drink, please drink responsibly.
Follow these simple rules.
Use a designated driver.
Eat before attending a party. Eat while drinking, and drink slowly.
If hosting a party with beverage alcohol, always serve food. Have nonalcoholic beverages for those who choose not to drink.
The holiday season is happy and festive for most but for some it is a depressing time, so remember, alcohol is a depressant, not a stimulant and act accordingly.
It's against the law to serve alcohol products to anyone under age 21.
Don't let your celebration end in tragedy.