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Christmas Spirit Past, Present, and Future

A very Merry Christmas and Joyous Holiday Season to all! “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 joy to your heart, a smile to your face, and provide you inner peace. This is the true meaning of “Christmas Spirit.”

At a time when the world has never been more complicated, the answer can be found in the greatest father-son story ever told. I was very blessed to sit down with Father John Manno a few years back and would like to share some of his thoughts about Christmas and the arrival of the baby Jesus.

The message he wanted me to share with all, “Experience Christmas, the contemplation of God to come amongst us. It is a most joyous time to celebrate the importance of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and how God sent his only son to the mortal world to provide us everlasting life. All beginning with the innocence and vulnerability of having a baby born in a manger.”

Father Manno always encouraged everybody to live Christmas. “To understand and experience the love of God and his only son. How Mary and Joseph, who were two migrants, accepted our Lord and cared for him unconditionally. Joseph being his stepfather, loved him like his own. I think this is a message for all families — no matter of their makeup. When God comes into our life, we realize the importance of each other, and how we are all truly one.”

Father Manno was always a champion for equality and diversity and wanted everybody to understand that “Jesus came to the world for everyone, the wise men were Kings from three different cultures, Jesus was truly sent to unite the world in the name of God. Celebrate the realness of God’s gift of Emmanuel every day, not just on Christmas.”

Father had a great way of balancing and embracing Santa Claus and Saint Nicklaus, the beloved Patron Saint of Children. He completely understood how Santa and St. Nicklaus represent a magical time of a child’s life and the spirit of Christmas. If you would like to read my complete Christmas past sit down with Father John “A Christmas Blessing and Story…” it can be found on our website.

A tip of my Santa hat to all the good girls and boys that entered our annual Blaise Alexander Family Dealerships Christmas Fun Coloring Contest. They all did a tremendous job; I’ve never seen so much glitter and creative design. The effort the young folks put into the contest could put a smile on the Grinch’s face. A special thanks to my Editor Steph, and her team of Elves for organizing and judging all the kids’ work. What a difficult job.

The winners and every child’s name that entered can be found in the pages ahead. I wish I had the power of Santa — they all would win!

It is the most wonderful time of the year to be young. Thank you to all that do so much to make sure every child has something under the tree and on the Christmas table. We are truly blessed to live in our very caring and generous neck of Penns Woods.

Make sure to pass this spirit on to your own children. It’s a great way to show a living example of doing some good in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

I must take a moment to keep alive the memory of my good friend Dave Sechler. He had over four decades of service to The Salvation Army and our local community. I still miss seeing his big smile at the Salvation Army’s gym and ringing the bell wherever needed.

The Salvation Army has done such a great job providing so much for so many this year; there is no better way to honor Dave than a last-minute Red Kettle donation. From now until the end of the year, I will have a Red Kettle set up in the front of my office; if you would like to make a donation, my staff and I will match your contribution. Any stories you would like to share about Dave when you drop in would be greatly appreciated. If you feel more comfortable mailing it in, anything postmarked by the end of the year will be matched. I am a big believer in Dave’s efforts, The Salvation Army, and the money being kept here and used locally.

In closing, we recently lost a very dear member of our extended Webb Weekly family. Heartfelt thoughts, prayers, and condolences to the Hunsinger family. Lou Sr. went home to the Lord this past week. He was truly one of the good guys who gave his lifetime to serving our Nation and we the people, through public service. He will be dearly missed.

Have a safe and Happy Holiday Season. Please make sure no one goes forgotten about and share the true Spirit of Christmas.

God Bless America.

Jim Webb

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