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Just Outside My Door 11/15/12

November 21, 2012
By ELAINE G. COLE - COLUMNIST ( , Westfield Republican / Mayville Sentinel News

As I write today, the month of November is half over and so far we have had hardly any snow though it's been in the 20's several nights. Many other places, however, have had snow and also rain and wind storms far worse than in our area. My thoughts and prayers go out to those who have suffered greatly during the storms and those who lost loved ones. It has certainly been a difficult November thus far for millions of folk in our country. Meanwhile, time goes on and we have arrived at the holiday season.

I enjoy this time of year, but I dislike the way stores and other businesses have commercialized the holidays. Even before Halloween and Thanksgiving, many area stores are decorated for Christmas and have wares pertaining to it available. For several weeks, Black Friday has been advertised immensely, and now we're hearing Santa promotions. Sometimes I ponder how those special holidays are promoted and spent so differently than they were in yesterday.

I recall how the early settlers prepared for and spent Thanksgiving and Christmas in yesteryear, and how it was when I was a child. It isn't that they didn't celebrate those special days and spend time getting ready for them, but I'm sure it was much more difficult especially in the 1800s and early 1900s.

In those days, travel was more difficult, though often families lived near each other. Also food was usually homegrown. There were no modern methods of preparing the meal and no supermarkets where food could be purchased. Nevertheless, adults and children looked forward to those special holidays. Preparation began early, and they were family affairs. Often they worked together, and even the young ones took part in the preparations.

Often the families gathered for a church service early in the morning before the other activities began. Those long-ago holidays sometimes lasted for days as folk came from far and near. Life was simpler and children were happy just to get together and play games such as hide and seek, anti-I-over and with homemade dolls and toys. Their ingenuity was sharp, and it didn't take money to entertain them. In fact, money was scarce in the majority of families.

Nowadays, folk often think and plan for days before a holiday arrives. They purchase the most and best foods and decorations, but I don't think the people who get together enjoy the day any more than the simpler celebrations of yesteryear, especially the children. They don't usually think about what has past or what is to come. They just enjoy the present day, which many of us do not, despite the fancy or exotic preparations.

I think to have an enjoyable and fun holiday celebrations this time of year, it doesn't matter how fancy or if the weather is perfect. We can all be thankful there is still is sunshine, we still can glimpse the blue of the sky and in our onward way keeps looking up. Just be thankful for family and friends with kindly smiles and cheerful words. This is the time of year for grateful thanksgiving to God for all that we have.

An unknown author once said, "The beauty of the house is order. The blessing of the house is contentment. The glory of the house is hospitality. The crown of the house is godliness." I agree, and that goes for every day not just on holidays.

Reinhold Niebuhr wrote the following saying long ago, "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference." I would add, "trusting and living for Jesus is the best way to live and die."



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