Vassalboro 2022 Light up the Town contest winners

Congratulations to all who participated in the Vassalboro Business Association’s annual “Light Up the Town” contest!

The winners are:

Laura Jones, at 943 Bog Rd., #1 Best in Town – $200;
Teresa Jerolman/Dan Poulin, at 1321 Cross Hill Rd., #2 Best in Town – $150;
Stephen/Linnea Holmeister, at 18 Lang St., #3 Best in Town – $100.
Mike/Tracy McKenney, 120 Hannaford Hill Rd., #1 Most Creative – $200;
Kat/Kevin Eastman, at 731 Main St., #2 Most Creative – $150;
Rachel/Nick Jacobs, at 113 Priest Hill Rd., #3 Most Creative – $100.

Fairfield Cops Care For Kids program another huge success

The Fairfield Police Department Cops Care for Kids. (contributed photo)

by Mark Huard

The Fairfield Cops Care for Kids Program was created by the late Kingston Paul over 15 years ago. What started as a way to develop a relationship with the youth of Fairfield, grew into something so much more. That first night 15 years ago, three officers and Kingston delivered approximately 35 stuffed animals with a tag attached with all the officers’ names on it, wishing them a Merry Christmas. Fast forward to today and now all the officers from the department participate by going shopping for the presents, wrapping and delivering those presents and donating out of their checks all year long to help fund the program.

This year the Fairfield Police Department did something new and exciting thanks to an idea that the current Chief Thomas Gould came up with a few years ago. As the program grew over the years from a stuffed animal to three small gifts and a stuffed animal, we wanted something fun for the kids to enjoy and remember for a lifetime. So on December 15 and 16, the Fairfield Community Center was transformed into a Christmas Wonderland and was decorated from floor to ceiling with lights, presents, Christmas trees and more. The kids came in and were able to walk through and enjoy all the lights, vote on their favorite Christmas tree and have a chance to win all the toys underneath, enjoy sugar cookies and hot chocolate all while watching a movie and opening their gifts.

The Cops Care for Kids Program will still continue with their tradition of home deliveries to honor Kingston Paul.

None of this would be possible without the dedication of the department, the donations given throughout the year from members of our and surrounding communities and businesses along with the countless hours of hard work that went into making this all happen.

Volunteers still needed for Festival of Trees

Additional volunteers are still needed as the Alfond Youth & Community Center presents Family Festival of Trees again this holiday season, continuing a proud tradition begun by the Sukeforth family in 2015.

When you participate in this event, you are creating or continuing a fabulous holiday tradition. At the same time, the money you help raise supports our families in the community experiencing food insecurity through the services of Alfond Youth & Community Center and reinforces workforce development projects in the region.

Who doesn’t love a beautiful holiday tree? Imagine over fifty trees and the beauty and creativity represented. This wonderful family tradition will be held at The Elm, 21 College Ave., Waterville from November 18-20 and November 25-27. Hours on Fridays and Saturdays will be 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 20 – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 27 – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Drawings for tree winners will begin on Sunday, November 27 at 5 p.m.

A daily 50/50 drawing will be held each day of the event, with the final 50/50 drawing held at 4 p.m. at the close of the event. You do not need to be present to win – winners will be contacted by phone each day.

The Family Festival of Trees will provide a magical experience the whole family can enjoy. Admission for ages 12 and over is just $2 per person, with children under 12 admitted free. Free children’s books will also be distributed, while supplies last. Purchase and drop your individual tree tickets (just .50 each) into the container of your favorite tree and you could go home at the end of the event with a beautifully decorated tree complete with all the gift cards and merchandise displayed. Only cash payments are accepted for the admission, tree tickets and 50/50 entries; however, an ATM is available on site.

Please join in this magical experience. Whether you visit to view the trees on display or are willing to volunteer some time to help staff the event, it will be time well-spent – and you will be helping support your community through your participation.

For more information about the festival, or to volunteer, go online to www.festivaloftreesmaine.com. If you would like to volunteer as a group, please contact Volunteer Coordinator, Bonnie McBreairty, bmcbreairty@clubaycc.org.

MY POINT OF VIEW: America’s first veterans were Revolutionary War soldiers

by Gary Kennedy

So here we are with another year passing us by and searching for meaning. We veterans know who, what and why we are considered veterans. In general, those who have served in the U.S. Military are veterans. However, title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations defines a veteran as “a person who served in the active military, army, navy, or air service and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable”.

This definition explains that any individual that completed a service for any branch of armed forces classifies as a veteran as long as they were not dishonorably discharged. The most important thing to understand is veteran status. This is very important to the veteran but has no meaning to the general public. When the veteran is released from his military obligations he or she may be entitled to earned benefits, post military. At this point in time the veteran should locate the nearest “Veterans Administration” office and register any service related situation with a Veterans Advocate. Here also, he will receive information and advice as to what he may be entitled to. He will display his DD214 and perhaps show his military service and medical records. The veteran will be guided from there.

Now let’s take a look at how a veteran began and a little history of the veteran’s origin. In this country the making of a veteran basically began in 1775. This was the beginning of the Revolutionary War. This war began on April 19, 1775, and didn’t end until April 3, 1783; eight long years. We were a young country seeking freedom from mother Great Britain. She didn’t want to let us go so war ensued. The war was fought and won, but at great cost. We lost nearly 70,000 soldiers in this conflict. On the third day of April in 1783 our first veteran was born.

On April 12, 1861, the Civil War had begun. Before it was to end we would lose 364,511 Union soldiers and another 260,000 Confederates. History tells us that loved ones went to the killing fields to claim the bodies of their loved ones. This war ended on April 12, 1865. More veterans were created. They claim 25 percent of those who fought did not survive.

July 28, 1914, World War I began which took the lives of 116,708 and left 204,000 wounded. This ended on November 11, 1918. We were now getting familiar with the word “Veteran”. On September 1, 1939, World War II began and before it was to end 670,846 died and 405,399 were wounded. Those remaining became the new “Veterans”. Next came Korea on June 25, 1950, until July 27, 1953. This was long enough to allow 40,000 to die and 100,000 to be wounded.

Would you know it, we decided the country of Vietnam needed to be free from Communism. This was on November 1, 1955, and ended April 30, 1975. This involved Cambodia and Laos. We spent 20 years trying to change Vietnam but failed in our attempt. However, we did create more “Veterans”. I guess we didn’t have enough so we went to the aid of Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, to August 30, 2021. This would be another 20-year war which cost us 2,456 American lives. There were 20,752 of America’s finest wounded. Also this war led to many U.S. soldiers committing suicide. Currently, I don’t know why our troops were so affected by this particular war. I am currently searching for answers to that dilemma. In any case, we ended up with more “veterans”. The last one that I will mention is the Gulf War, which runs from August 2, 1990, to February 28, 1991. Two hundred nineteen men and women died, more “veterans”. There were other skirmishes that I haven’t addressed and my figures are only a good approximate; they are close enough for purposes of this article. I guesstimate around 1,520,226 deaths and approximately five times that in wounded. That’s a lot of sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters as well as others sacrificing to keep us and others free. So we have a million and a half posthumous veterans and many millions more who were lucky enough to make it home. Home is the key word and it’s still free and safe thanks to veterans; we continue to keep conflict off of our shores.

Believe me, if we didn’t have veterans we would be speaking another language by now. When will we and the world learn to live and let live? Greed and corruption continue to take the front seat and so we must continue to create “veterans”. I am a veteran, yet every night I pray for those in harm’s way, especially our veterans. My time has come and gone as is the case of thousands of others. We must rely on the strength of others now, as they will eventually do. At this point in time it’s the way of things. We need to pray for a world of peace. Until that time, God Bless our future veterans. Pray for them; thank them for serving our country and for watching over us. God Bless our veterans and God Bless America.

MY POINT OF VIEW – Labor Day: It gives us another needed break

Norman Rockwell’s painting of Rosie the Riveter in 1943.

by Gary Kennedy

Well, we have one of those long weekends arriving soon. It’s hard to believe that a year has gone by so rapidly. Covid coupled with stress and turmoil seems to have played a role in the rapidity in which time has flown. When you become a senior that doesn’t play out as a good thing. There comes a time in all of our lives when things need to slow down. Unfortunately, we have very little control over that.

Labor Day is celebrated on Monday, September 5, which allows many of us another needed break from the hazardous toils of employment. We might love our job but it sure is great to have a little free time to share with family and friends. It gives us a little extra time to share with our retrospective glasses which acts as a guide into the future. My family and I enjoy the holiday as we can reminisce and pull the past forward, thus allowing us conscientious purpose for the future.

When it is my time to tout the past the first thing that comes to mind is Rosie the Riveter. The holiday itself pays tribute to the conditions and achievements of the American worker. This holiday was created by the labor movement in the 19th century. Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894, by then President Grover Cleveland. Labor Day carried some soon to be historically important people as well as some outlandish rules.

Rosie Riveter

I mentioned Rosie the Riveter who became America’s sweetheart because of her principals, attire and ethical demeanor. Rosie is one of my favorite historical figures as she represented the work ethic of Americans. She symbolized the ability of women to fill any void in support of their spouse and country. Whenever there was a shortage of help in the labor force women such as Rosie stepped up to fill the void. (America’s Pride) I always mention her during any labor shortage for whatever reason, especially war. I think of her on Memorial Day as well as Labor Day. I hope my annual effort serves to motivate the young ones who didn’t know her, to look her up and become familiar with the kind of person she was and what she stood for.

I mentioned outlandish rules; one of which was you shouldn’t wear white after Labor Day unless you were rich and could afford to vacation at all seasons. Many people actually adhered to that rule. However, after a time most people felt it was hog wash and dismissed it from the things not to do.

There were a couple of ladies who claimed to be the real Rosie the Riveter but I think the most accepted was Naomi Parker Fraley who passed away in 2018, at age 96. Dr. James J. Kimble, of the University of New Jersey, Professor of Communications, was the researcher that finally got it right. The most memorable thing Rosie ever said was shortly before her death and upon it being confirmed that she was in fact the real Rosie the Riveter, “The women of this country these days need some icons, if they think I’m one, I’m happy.” Rosie is one of my heroes, yet despite her success, Rosie was forced off the factory floor when the war ended. Her achievements are buried in books and all her accomplishments wiped out of our conscious. She proved what a woman could do in the labor force, especially in the hour of need. Thanks to historian researches in search of detail and truth we were able to receive her true unredacted story.

So while you are enjoying your family and friends on this extended weekend think about how we achieved what we have and who we are today. There are many Labor Day stories; I am only sharing one with all of my friends out there. Labor Day emphasizes work ethic of which there are many examples even in our own families. Look around and you will see where you got it from. I and all my friends here at The Town Line wish you a happy and safe holiday. May the one that you pray to bless and watch over you and yours. God Bless.

The views of the author of this column are not necessarily those of The Town Line newspaper, its staff and board of directors.

Vassalboro holds Memorial Day ceremony

from left to right, Mike Poulin, Tom Richards, commander, James Kilbride, adjutant, Doug Grasso, Nicole Jordan and Robert Whitehouse. (photo by Rachel Kilbride)

At the Vassalboro Recreation Field. (photo by Rachel Kilbride)

VASSALBORO, ME — American Legion Post #126, in Vassalboro, laid wreaths at the various veteran monuments in Vassalboro on Memorial Day, Monday, May 30, 2022.

The wreath laying ceremonies began at 9 a.m., on Main St, North Vassalboro, at Main Street Veteran Monument. From there they proceeded to the bridge on Oak Grove Road to lay flowers in honor of those lost at sea. Next they gathered at the flagpole and monument at the North Vassalboro Cemetery, on Cemetery St. From there they went to the Recreation Field, in East Vassalboro. Their final stop was in East Vassalboro at the Civil War Monument, at Monument Park, near the boat landing.

Memorial Day: Let us never forget our solemn pledge

photo: www.wreathsacrossamerica.org

by Joseph Reagan

On Memorial Day, 1945, the war in Europe had ended but the fighting in the Pacific continued, Lt. Gen. Lucian Truscott voiced remarks at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery at Nettuno, Italy. Turning his back on the assembled VIP’s he faced the rows upon rows of headstones and apologized to the 20,000 fallen Americans who had been laid to rest far from home. He was quoted as saying, “All over the world our soldiers sleep beneath the crosses. It is a challenge to us – all allied nations – to ensure that they do not and have not died in vain.”

Fast forward to Memorial Day 2022, and the familiar voices of brothers in arms begin to call one another on the phone. People usually think of reconnecting with former military buddies as a joyous happening. However, for this Memorial Day, the topic of conversation was not an armistice, a promotion, or even a daughter’s wedding or new addition to a home, it was about the latest in a string of suicides that silence the voice of our brothers but brought renewed connections from other familiar voices. One desperately said, “Sir, I needed to call someone who could understand this.”

Everyone in the greatest generation understood war. At home they experienced rationing, school children collected scrap, and women took up factory jobs while overseas the troops endured combat and were witness to some of the largest and most brutal atrocities in the modern age. When the war was over, they followed the lead of Lt. Gen Truscott and committed their lives to ensure that they “have not died in vain.” The shared sacrifice of a generation united them and helped them solve tough problems.

In subsequent wars, such as the Korean and Vietnam era, veterans did not experience the same level of understanding and thus either turned their voice inward or used their voice to fight for one another on subjects that varied from Agent Orange, PTSD, and other once-silent conditions.

The War on Terror introduced a unique time in our nation’s collective history as acts of war played out in real-time on our media devices. Although only one percent of Americans served post 9/11, it seems 100 percent of the country used their voice to express their opinions of this shared history as it unfolded.

For Korea and Vietnam veterans, war was not a shared experience and therefore various voices having various opinions helped further the national conversation regarding the treatment of veterans leading to safer and more thoughtful approaches. Unlike the veterans of Korea and Vietnam, the veterans of the last several decades did not return home to the voices of dissent that could be addressed directly, instead, they returned to a polite nation that creates media of dissent and very little opportunity for honest, open dialog.

This new era of media, learning, and personal discussions bring rise to the question, “Do people really remember why we hold our veterans in a place of honor?” For years, voices saying meaningless phrases like “the enemy gets a vote” or “there’s nothing you could have done” were meant to comfort those of us who have held the heavy responsibility of leading troops in combat. However, many people seem to lack the understanding that our hearts have been forever scarred by the invisible wounds of war, scarred by guilt and grief, and by the longing for forgiveness that will never come. Even if forgiveness was offered, it would be hard to accept as no mere words can undo a life experience and because of this, we often feel isolated, misunderstood, and undervalued therefore our voices remain silent.

As conversations with the voice on the other end of the phone come to its inevitable conclusion, I am reminded that to remain silent is a betrayal of my obligation to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. As Horace Bushnell once said, the best thing for us to do is to remember “what they have put it on us to do for the dear common country to which they sold their life.” As we gather as one nation this Memorial Day, my hope is that instead of directing shallow words of gratitude at each other, we do as Lt. Gen. Truscott did and direct our gratitude directly towards those who made the ultimate sacrifice. In both our words and actions, let us all commit ourselves to serve the country to which they gave their lives.

While there is still much work to be done, the generation of veterans from this century have access to vast resources, life-saving technology, and increased information. This same generation of veterans is just now starting to define our post-service legacy and like our grandparents, return home with a deep commitment to service, and a desire to address the many problems that we face.

One such issue needing to be addressed is helping veterans find purpose in their post-service lives. Truscott’s apology to the dead are not empty words, but a strong voice reminding us that we have an obligation to choose resilience and purpose when faced with guilt or grief. As an example, Gold Star Families, who have experienced tremendous loss, continue to serve their communities to maintain the legacy of the loved one they lost. I often recall a colleague of mine responding to the question “why do you do so much to help veterans?” he simply held up his finger, choking back tears he responded, “for the one I couldn’t save.” By choosing to use his voice to advocate for other veterans, he not only helped them find their purpose – he found his own.

It’s often said that for those who have served “every day is Memorial Day,” a traditionally silent observance in the veteran’s mind that can best be described as an impossible trinity made up of an overwhelming sense of guilt, grief, and grit. Usually, a moment of silence on this day is a welcomed and solemn way to honor the voices from our past, but for myself, after losing three former soldiers to suicide in the past few months, silence is no longer an option and the freedom to use our voice is the greatest gift that our veterans have to offer this Memorial Day.

Joseph Reagan is the Director of Military and Veterans Outreach for Wreaths Across America. He has almost 20 years experience working with leaders within government, nonprofit, and Fortune 500 companies to develop sustainable strategies supporting National Security, and Veterans’ Health. He served eight years on active duty as an officer in the U.S. Army including two tours to Afghanistan with the 10th Mountain Division. He is the recipient of multiple awards and decorations including the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

To view resources for service members, veterans, and their families, please visit learn.wreathsacrossamerica.org/veteranresources.

MY POINT OF VIEW: Valentine’s Day usually means sweethearts

St. Valentine

by Gary Kennedy

When we think of Valentine’s Day we think of sweethearts, roses and candies. For most of us it implies love and how we can show it, thus the beauty and the sweets. Some people display this special day in other ways such as, Rose Day, Propose Day, Chocolate Day, Teddy Day and ends on February 14 as Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s week is the most celebrated love week of the year.

However, St. Valentine’s Day started as a Christian feast day honoring one or two Christian martyrs name Saint Valentine. Biblically speaking we refer to 1st Corinthians 13:4-8, Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self seeking, and it is not one sided keeps no record of wrongs. (Song of Solomon 8:7), many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. Let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us. He sent his one and only son into the world that we might live through him. The trick is to not read anything into the process but to accept it as the greatest gift you shall ever receive, God’s love through his son. Remember, this is a Christian view.

The name Valentine was actually named after a third-century martyr. This holiday has absolutely no roots in or from the Bible even though we can equate appropriate biblical passages from the Bible. In all due respect we must remember that there are many religions which are not Christian. By that I mean there are faiths that don’t believe or worship the same.

To be more explicit some faiths don’t believe in Christ but do believe in God. Christians believe that God has a son and others who parallel the Christian religion believe that Christ was a prophet, but not the son of God. Holy wars have been fought all over our earth for as long as religion has existed.

So it has always been wise to handle Valentine’s Day from a sweetheart/lovers perspective and not a religious one. This problem has gone on for many centuries. I am just giving you a vague other view for our celebrating a holiday which seems to imply religious overtones. So respectfully, let’s keep it as it was originally intended and buy those chocolates and roses for someone that we hold dear. This could be your sweetheart, a close friend in your classroom or even your mother.

For those of you who want more information from the religious point of view, St. Valentine was a Roman priest and physician who suffered martyrdom during the persecution of Christians by the emperor Claudius II Gothicus at about 270. He was buried on the Via Flaminia and Pope Julius I reportedly built a basilica over his grave.

Valentine’s Day is banned in several countries such as Iran, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Pakistan and even regions of Russia. This St. Valentine’s Day originated as a Christian Feast Day honoring one or two early Christian martyrs named Valentine. This most likely is how this holiday received connection with religion, especially Christianity. So, I guess we just have to remember the true roots of this sweet love filled holiday is the commercial celebration of romance and love in many regions of the world.

As for myself, I probably will head for the florist shop and design a nifty bouquet of flowers and put them together with something sweet, besides myself and present them in some romantic fashion to my loving partner. I being a man of letters and words will probably design a sweet display in card form in order to receive my reward, a hug and a kiss, if I am lucky.

Whatever your choice will be, we here sincerely wish you and your loved ones a very happy Valentine’s Day. Even though some of you may have been mislead by the meaning of this holiday, love is in the air and as we know God is love, so he automatically comes with it. God bless you all and have a very happy and safe Valentine’s Day.

The views of the author in this column are not necessarily those of The Town Line newspaper, its staff and board of directors.

A Valentine story: What makes a marriage last for over 50 years

Linda and Ron Morrell today.

by Jeanne Marquis

When I popped over to the China Baptist Church to ask Pastor Ron Morrell if he was willing to do an interview, there he was having lunch with his wife Linda in his book-filled office, enjoying each others’ company and taking a pause on a busy day to be together. That scene alone spoke volumes. The three of us sat down for an interview two days later to hear about their journey of a 58-year marriage and what they felt makes it successful.

Ron and Linda’s journey began when they met at Owosso College, a small Christian college in Owosso, Michigan. Linda says, “The girls were whispering because here’s a guy from California with dark curly hair and a little red ‘sporty’ car.” Ron added it was a red 1959 Studebaker and not exactly a sports car.

They met in November 1963. They were with a group of students who gathered to play parlor games. That evening the game was Password. Linda was seated on the floor near Ron’s chair as it was an informal setting. At one point, Linda nudged Ron’s leg in a friendly way and said he must be cheating since he was doing so well. She got Ron’s attention because he remembers it vividly.

After that evening, Linda surmises other people finagled to bring them together. She waitressed in the dining hall and somehow Ron always was seated at her table. It didn’t take long for a spark to develop and they started dating. On New Year’s Day, 1964, Ron asked Linda to marry him. Ron’s father officiated the ceremony on August 21, 1964.

When asked how they knew they had the right type of love for a strong marriage, Linda confidently said, “You marry your best friend. That’s what it’s all about, and yes, he still is my best friend.”

Money was tight for the young couple. Ron continued his classes at Owosso College and worked for Montgomery Ward in the electrical and paint departments. Linda worked multiple jobs as a nurses’ aid at Riverview Hospital and in factories assembling electrical motors and making sandpaper.

The next year, they decided to move closer to Ron’s family in San Fernando, California. They rented a four-by-six U-Haul trailer and towed it with their 1963 Chevrolet Corvair all the way from Michigan to California. They enrolled in Azusa Pacific University. Ron got rehired on with Montgomery Ward, held a job on campus as coordinator of public information and as a printer for Air Cold Sales to pay for tuition and their living expenses.

Ron and Linda Morrell, in Bell, California.

With a degree in hand and experience at other churches, Ron became a youth pastor at Bell Friends Church, in Bell, California. Linda worked at the Los Angeles county probation Department in East Los Angeles. They welcomed Ron Jr., their first child, into the world on January 2, 1970.

In 1971, Ron received a challenging position at Pico Rivera Friends Church as pastor and to oversee the building of their new church. The congregation was primarily Hispanic with many of the older members speaking only Spanish, so services were regularly translated. Ron explained, “We had a little side room, like a nursery with a glass window and somebody would translate the sermon.”

At this time Linda also began a challenge of working while going back to college at Cal State LA. Linda was working on a degree in corrections with plans of becoming a probation officer. At night she worked at Los Padrinos juvenile hall in Downey, California.

Ron spoke proudly of Linda, “And in the process of all that and working on her degree, she had two babies. Yes, we already had our son. He was born before that time, but the girls were both born while she was working and working on her degree.”

Linda and Ron Morrell and son.

Ron and Linda kept this pace up for nine years. He had raised the money and acted as the general contractor for the building. The church was built and it was time for a change.

From 1980 to 1983, Ron was the Minister of Christian Education for Whittier First Friends Church, which is a campus church for Whittier College, in Whittier, California.

Linda and Ron Morrell as a young couple.

They were also looking for a bigger, geographical change as well. Dear friends of theirs, Lee and Ann Austin, had recently sold their home in California to move to a town called China, Maine. In March 1980, Ron went out to Maine to visit the Austins.

Ron said, “It was March and I was never so cold in all my life. We spent Saturday night at Myrtle and Ralph Austin’s house, in South China, and they had a big cook stove. That’s the house that Ron Maxwell lives in now. There were beans and cinnamon rolls on the stove. I sat in the corner, warming my feet on the stove and decided then that Maine was the place.”

History shows that Linda agreed. Ron and Linda took a leap of faith that moving their family across the entire continent would be a good future. They have been in China, Maine for nearly 40 years in which time they raised three children, welcomed five grandchildren and guided the many members of China Baptist Church. Ron and Linda have shown us that there are many leaps of faith in every marriage and it is best to take those leaps with your best friend, as Linda has advised us.

In his roles as Pastor, Ron has counseled couples on what makes a strong marriage. Here are some of his words of wisdom on the subject:

  • Make time in your week for date time to get away from the kids and work obligations.
  • Be intentional to maintain the relationship by finding common interests and talking.
  • Clear the air when a disagreement comes up.
  • Having a religious faith helps.
  • Be careful of how you talk about your spouse in front of others.

Good advice from a couple married for 58 years.

MY POINT OF VIEW: Remembering the spirit of Christmas, and its meaning

by Gary Kennedy

This was the time of year most of us looked forward to. School books, Christmas trees, Santa Claus, Christmas bonus, gifts and great food with family and friends. Usually our hearts are full of joy and season feelings such as giving. Most of us don’t pass the guy or gal standing on the corner asking for help. We are afraid that person might be honestly hungry, homeless and/or alone. I have on occasion filled myself with such guilt that I have turned my vehicle around so as to retrace my steps and redo my original path to give that person standing on the corner a gift so as to right the wrong my mind tells me I might have done.

That being done I feel so much better. After all, who am I to judge or ignore that person’s situation. The guilt would probably pass if I had nothing to give. Actually it’s sad to have such feelings initiated because of a seasonal guilt trip. Jesus wasn’t a big fan of birthdays himself. They were usually given in honor of the rich and famous (kings, pharaohs, etc.) Actually, whenever the Bible does show the celebration of birthdays, it was done by people who weren’t following God.

Ecclesiastes 7:1 says the day of death is better than the day of birth. It continues to speak of the importance of mourning rather than celebrating. “The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning”. (Ecclesiastes 7:4) It is good to celebrate our love for God any or every day. We as a collective honor God with our love and obedience to the principles he laid out for us. The greatest commandment is to first love God with all your heart, soul and might. By loving others in this entire world, irrespective of race, color or creed we are giving the greatest gift to God on any day as he did for you and the rest of mankind. The greatest gift each and every day is to try and understand your fellow man/woman and show love. It’s a gift that was given to you and it’s yours to understand and use.

Remember Jesus never asked us to celebrate his birth, he commanded us to remember his death. Christmas is actually a Catholic holiday. I don’t mean to demean the intent; I am just saying there are many misconceptions when it comes to the Christmas holiday. If you forget all the tankers laying idle in the harbors off the West and East coasts you might find many broken hearts revolving around material things and also billions in profits that benefit other than the poor and truly faithful.

The greatest gift waiting to be received by us is that of faith and love. You are the reason for the season and when you think about it you will realize it. If those ships laden with Barbie Dolls and electronic toys were to never reach our shore or, in fact, our homes what do we tell the children. There laid a beautiful chance to set the record straight. We can always give our children material things but what the world needs right now is children taught history as it was meant to be. God so loved the world that he gave the most precious gift that could possibly be given, his only son. Times are very trying right now and the salvation of this world rests on the shoulders of that which we love most, our children. They must learn that we are one in the eyes of he who matters. There is no place for greed, lust, materialism and prejudice. They need to learn that only they can bring about the change that will redeem this lonely, war-ridden place that has been created. We need to help them turn that corner and embrace that which we annually celebrate. Enjoy this holiday that was created by man but remember its original intent and see it through to its true purpose. Let’s remember the loved ones we have lost through this tumultuous time we have addressed as life, and remember the great promise of the real gift, “Eternal Life” with he whom we celebrate in his name. The books of Luke and Matthew as well as John indicate different dates for the possible date of the birth of Jesus of Naza­reth. There are many assumptions but the best would be somewhere between 6 – 4 BC in Bethlehem during or shortly after the harvest season of that area. Some say September or October. After all is said and done it really doesn’t matter when, its why.

We still celebrate Christmas for the love of Christ on December 25 and we will still target our children for the merriment. It’s a reason to love and fill them with joy while loving the Holy Father as the reason for the season.

One more thing before I go, The Town Line is staffed with some military veterans, some with disabilities and some with those you might not see. In any case we know what it’s like to be away from home and those that we love. I am sure we have all shed a tear or two. However, we eventually came home, but many of our comrades didn’t. Both men and women know Flanders Field.

These as you are now seeing are uncertain times. Make sure you pray for all those who wear the uniform of our states and our country. At the same time pray for love and guidance to those of other countries. One field goal, basket or run doesn’t make a game. It’s just a step in the right direction. We all have the ability to love. I can’t imagine someone not loving anyone. For me that is not a possibility.

We wish you all a very merry holiday season and God be with and protect you and yours. Stay safe and remember others always. We are all in this together. If we remember that then we will all receive the blessing of, Peace on Earth and Goodwill to all. Merry Christmas and have a blessed New Year.

The views of the author in this column are not necessarily those of The Town Line newspaper, its staff and board of directors.