By Marsha M. Brown
With Christmas just days away and the fast approaching arrival of a New Year we can’t help but reflect on the last 365 days and how things have changed in our lives. Typically we reminisce about what we’ve gained and what we’ve lost; what we’ve accomplished and what is yet to achieve; we think of good health and those who have crossed the bar; we think of answered prayers and things yet to be prayed for.
In the last few weeks I’ve watched as many Christmas movies as possible some being so ingrained I could almost recite them by heart but still worthy of watching again. Their story line is played out in different ways but very much the same…love, family, forgiveness, the spirit of giving and tradition. What you see less of though is the beautiful gift to the world and how His humble introduction to humanity changed everything.
This GIG LINE column is my 84th and while I try to keep it at two typed written pages (max) it’s difficult because I feel like I’m talking with and to you on a one-to-one basis. My words, thoughts and experiences are inspired by all the good people that have shared my ‘space’ over all these years and blessed my life. Because of that I have a lot to say. The fact that many of you have told me or my sweetie pie that you like to read my column has encouraged me to write beyond GIG LINE. And folks, my first project will be about a very special Christmas…not about presents or a vacation but about the real spirit of Christmas and how it intertwines our lives together in a unique and special way. You see, Santa is magical and my personal encounter with him…well, more on that later.
I love Christmas, don’t you? And even if you’re feeling kinda blue or sick of the commercial aspect of things …it’ll be OK. Sit down with a steaming cup of coffee, hot cocoa or tea and think for a minute of all the good things in your life…of how you helped someone – maybe you gave somebody a ride; maybe you made up the difference of change for the customer ahead of you in the grocery store line; maybe you gave more in the offering plate than you felt you could afford…maybe you said a prayer for someone who was hurting that you didn’t even know. Think about the good within yourself and those you love. Think about the sacrifice of others, those who go without in order to benefit others – that is sacrifice isn’t it?
I believe in Santa…or the ‘spirit’ of Santa anyway. I personally came to realize how it all plays out through an unintentional circumstance in my life but don’t get me wrong…of course the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ is Christmas…it is why we celebrate, it is the earmark for the greatest demonstration of love there is and as much as some folks wish to deny it, change it or dismiss it…it’s forever. Yep…this beautiful month of December stirs up memories in our hearts and our minds alright. It reminds us of when we sat on a big ole guy’s lap spilling our guts about our ‘list’ hoping he’d agree. It reminds Billy and I of the time we took our six month old son to see Santa and how he filled his diaper while Santa cradled him tightly in his arms too! That was a simple act of nature and it was funny…to everyone but poor ole’ Santa!
But seriously, right now at this very minute active duty men and women are sacrificing for you and for me all over the world. Many are uncomfortable, tired and doing without the simple pleasures we take for granted every day. Imagine for a minute what it would be like for us if they weren’t doing what they do to ensure our safety and our way of life. Would we give pause to flying across country to ski or see family for the holidays? Without our military, would we feel safe as a nation overall? Would we want to trade their cot for our comfy king size bed or exchange their rations for our yummy big spread on Christmas day? Would opt to miss seeing our little ones light up after discovering what Santa left behind on Christmas Eve? We are blessed people. We have the assurance our troops ‘have our backs’ so that we can go about our daily lives confident that we can. As Americans we are so much better off than much of our world. You who are veterans know what I’m talking about. You’ve been there – done that. You and your comrades who serve today are so much a part of all of our Christmas celebrations and traditions. Thank you for the years you went without and for the sacrifices you have made for us. When counting my blessings veterans are high on my list. You’ve made me happy and getting the opportunity to write for you and about you have been a real honor for me and to Billy. So from my heart, I sincerely thank you all.
And for those of you who have your Dare County Veteran I.D. Card (which as you know offers local business discounts to the cardholder), please add another business to the list. Proprietor Charles Berry, also a veteran of the U. S. Army, has signed up Berry’s Automotive Care located at 1088 Hwy. 64 in Manteo. If you know Charles, you know two things for sure…he’s full of life and a devoted husband, father and grandfather. He’s also a proud American who’s still more than willing to serve fellow veterans today by offering 10% off his auto parts and service. Once Charles submitted his form to Billy (Dare County Veterans Advisory Council member) he promptly applied his business door decal announcing his business support of veterans. Charles is a good guy and like all of our participating business owners…he’s greatly appreciated! Just a suggestion folks, but please take the time to frequent the businesses that offer veterans a break and let the owners and staff know you’re grateful for the discount they offer. Acknowledging that you’ve noticed they care will mean a lot to them.
A New Year schedule for issuance of the I. D. Card(s) will be forthcoming early in 2014 in GIG LINE and hopefully online soon but…in the meantime, if you want to obtain your ‘CARD’, please call and if at all possible, we’ll try to accommodate getting with you to issue yours. Goodness folks, currently there are 20 businesses where you can use your ‘CARD’ to save money for gifts and in general, so don’t put off calling us if you want one before Christmas Day or soon after.
Until next time, hug each other, help the homeless some of which ARE veterans and please tell the vets you know ‘thank you’. Shake their hand and assure them they aren’t forgotten…not at all. Be happy, be safe, be proud…stay tuned and from my sweetie pie Billy and I, we wish you and those you love – a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!!