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Barb's Mantle

Right now, all I want to do is go to bed! I've not felt all that good this week, but had been getting better the past two days. But, over did it today, running around with my husband all day. Then, came home and went to clean the church. Had to get out all the Christmas decorations for Church tomorrow. And, I'm not as young as I used to be. I was wishing the whole time I had asked someone to come help! But, cleaning the Church is my job, so I grinned and bore it. But, I came home, tired to the bone.

As for ?ringing in the New Year?, it won't be happening here - party wise, that is. I will probably be sitting in my easy chair, computing, or watching the ball drop in Time Square. Didn't even make it that far last year. When the bed beckons, I?ll go tonight!

But, today is the end of a year, and tomorrow will bring in the new. It seems to come earlier and earlier each year. I think it's because, the older we get, time has a way of getting away from us. But, although the year seemed shorter, and we are about to embark on another one, I thank the Lord for every minute and every day. Each day is a blessing from above. We aren't assured another day, not even another breath, so I count it a privilege to . . .
Christmas is in the air, believe it or not! Yesterday, five women from our church met to decorate the church for Christmas. It's an exciting time, in that we gather, work in the church, making it beautiful for worshipping the Lord, play Christmas music, and eat. Yesterday was no exception. One of the ladies brought homemade chili, one took a dessert, and another brought the trimmings (tea, crackers, etc.). We had a great day in the Lord, working to beautify His house.

There are those out there that want to eradicate the Christmas holiday, or, at least, rename it something more to their liking, such as Winter Holiday or something like that. Even some Christians aren't comfortable with celebrating Christmas, because they see it as a pagan holiday.

I believe Christmas is what you make it. Sure, we buy gifts to give our loved one and decorate a Christmas tree. Some say the holiday is too commercialized. But, the meaning behind Christmas for me and almost everyone I know is the fact it is considered a celebration of the birth of Christ our Lord and Saviour. I, in no way, idolize the tree or gifts I give to my family. That is only an act of love. The true spirit of Christmas is in the way we worship God and show Him the love and respect He deserves and wants.

This Christmas season, may we all stop to . . .

Notice - the title is separated. In other words, Giving Thanks -this Thanksgiving, is more important than Thanksgiving itself. When we think of Thanksgiving, we quickly conjure up a picture of a big, fat turkey, with dressing, cranberry sauce, green beans, potato salad, pumpkin and sweet potato pies that make your mouth water, and anything else the imagination can come up with. Makes me hungry just thinking!

But, this season there is so much to give thanks for besides that Thanksgiving meal. The first thing I can think of is that God had allowed us to live to see the day once more. Only by His mercy and grace are we able to rise each morning, be able to say, "Thank you, Lord, for the day", and go on our way. Admit it; not too many get beyond that phase in the morning. People are too busy with school kids getting off to school, making it to work on time, reading the morning paper, or sleeping!

The next thing I can think of is our families. He has given each of us a family - if you are on earth, you have or have had a family. It took a Mother and Father to bring you into the world. Most of us have siblings. We may not be as close as we would like, whether we are close in miles or far away. But, we know we are family. And, daily, I give thanks to God above for . . .

Many of us face troubles throughout our lives. We are met with debts we cannot pay, family problems we cannot solve, sickness we sometimes cannot overcome, or prayers that seem never to be answered. We sometimes get desperate, get into fear, and lose our sense of perspective. Our mental view sometimes takes over when we should be resorting to the spiritual view.

Our problems are sometimes made worse by ourselves. My husband is one that can testify to that! He has had problems with his gall bladder for years, but, as the pain would subside each time, he would decide he didn't need to go to the doctor. Well, the time came three weeks ago when the pain would not let up, and he had to resort to the ER. Well, he didn't have to decide; the doctors decided for him, which resulted in a 10 day stay and surgery! But, thank goodness, they made the decision and kept him, because he is better off today than he was then. It could have been much worse!

But, our indecisions can get us into a heap of problems! Had he layed around here much longer, in the pain he was in, today might be a different day. We sometimes don't look at the long picture, when we deal with a given problem. We think a ?cure? today is what we need. His would have been ?pain medication? and being sent home, but he didn't . . .
So many people in the coastal areas of Alabama, Mississippi,and Louisiana have been removed from their homes. Most of them have lost their homes, and everything they own. In many of those cities/towns, the people have lost their livelihood.

There were so many deaths that seemed unnecessary - from the people who refused to get out before the hurricane in New Orleans, to those that were not given access to a way out - to those that ?waited? and no help came. The blame game played a huge roll in this mess. Instead of stepping up to the plate and sending out rescue teams the minute it happened, people were waiting for others to take on the task.

I don't believe God looks at this problem with a happy face; instead, He probably has a heavy heart. Most of His people have done their best - so many reports of loving neighbors helping neighbors - not those just ?next door?, but those in other states. That is called ?love for . . .

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