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God’s Greatest Gift

A very Merry Christmas to everyone! Let’s all be careful out there while enjoying all that is a blessed Holiday season. Please remember to say thank you to all that prepare the perfectly delicious Christmas feast. Absolutely no political discussions until the New Year. And let’s keep the conversation around the table joyous.

The most quoted and famous bible verse in the history of Christianity, “For God so loved the world he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16. This should bring warmth to your heart, a smile to your face, and provide peace of mind. This is truly what the Christmas spirit is all about.

At a time when the world has never been more complicated, and true evil can be seen and viewed every day, the answer can be found in the greatest father-son story ever told.

The Bible and its teachings can often be difficult to interpret and even harder to follow without sin. Our God Jehovah understood this and provided us a back-up plan and a clear message in John 3:16. It couldn’t be spelled out any clearer. Believe and accept Jesus Christ as your savior as he is the provider of forgiveness and all that is good in the world and ever after.

The miracle of Christmas enhances this message along with one of the most important intangibles during our journey through life, that of hope. That when things get tough in our mortal world, and bad things happen by choice or chance, God has provided a plan that can be found in John 3:16. All you must do is simply believe in the baby Jesus.

Christmas celebrates the birth of our Lord Savior’s arrival on Earth. Please make some time during the Christmas festivities to talk with your children and explain God’s plan. Get out and about and share your Christmas spirit with the older members of your family that may be homebound or in a nursing facility. Help to lift up the spirits for those that are missing a loved one at the family table.

On Christmas Eve, don’t forget to leave Jolly Old Saint Nicholas those special cookies and milk. He is truly working in the name of God. And Santa’s story is a special time in childrens’ lives. Father John Manno taught me that both need to be embraced and explained. He would also want me to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. My story sharing his thoughts from last year “A Christmas Blessing and Story” can be found on page 38. Maybe I’ll make it a Christmas tradition to publish this column each year.

Tip of my Santa cap to Kent Bennett, Salvation Army Board President, all-around good guy and bringer of life to the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Kick-off breakfast. The third annual event was held in late November.

The mission of the event is simple, to supplement the ringing of the bell at storefronts by raising as much money for the local Salvation Army as possible. In today’s world, this ringing of the bell just doesn’t have the same effect as in Christmases past.

I have been committed to keeping the memory of David Sechler alive and continuing his lifetime of work for the Salvation Army. The Red Kettle Breakfast just seemed like a perfect fit, so I sponsor the annual get together.

Dave had over four decades of service to the Salvation Army and their local efforts. Many may remember his kind and smiling face as he greeted you at the entrance to the Sal’s gym. Sech oversaw and took care of the facility like it was his own.

Each year at the breakfast, they honor an individual for their efforts on behalf of the Salvation Army. Last year it was my good friend Dave. This year they memorialized long-time volunteer Eva Archer. Eva served in the women’s auxiliary and was the Secretary of the board of directors for over 25 years. She was a great lady, committed volunteer, as well as a very talented artist in regards to her painting. In 2015, the board of advisors awarded her lifetime membership status to the board. She was only the second person to receive this honor. Eva passed in 2016.

On Kent’s behalf, I would like to thank everybody that attended and all who contributed to the Red Kettle Kickoff. The event raised over $23,000, which will stay right here at home to help with the various programs they provide.

Last year during the Christmas season, the Salvation Army provided 496 food baskets, 7,632 toys for children, and over 1,200 clothing items, which included many winter coats. This is just a small example of the great work they do all year long. Thank you to everyone for their generosity and continued support of the Salvation Army not only during the holiday season but all year long.

God Bless America.

Jim Webb

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