by Kimberly Parker
I’m curious about what everyone will be doing for the holidays. We tend to think that it’s a joyous time for everyone. We tend to think that it’s a time when everyone sees family and friends. We tend to think that it’s filled with good food and drink. However, I know too well that it’s not always the fun filled holiday that we might hope for. I am keenly aware this year of people who are hurting and grieving. I have friends who are moving toward divorce. I know people who have lost a loved one this year and that it will be the first Christmas without someone who is usually a part of the holiday. I know others who are having struggles with their family. Others simply know that the holiday won’t be quite the same as it has been in past years for any number of reasons. And then I see people experiencing homelessness everyday who I know will not be with family or have a place to call home.
So, in reality, it’s not always the happy, fun-filled time that our society says it should be. People are hurting. People are grieving. In my own life, I’ve been thinking a lot about this reality and trying to figure out how to make this holiday into something that is meaningful and memorable for those I love and care about. We’ll see how it turns out.
As for our Central OAC guests, we do try and make them feel special during this time of the year. Last Friday, we held our annual guest holiday party. This has been going on since long before I joined the Central OAC team fifteen plus years ago. We used to ask volunteers to provide homemade baked goods and eventually decided to expand that to include a variety of treats … oranges, apples, pigs in a blanket, meatballs, cheese, sandwiches, cookies, etc. Board members and volunteers provide and serve the food. There always seems to be plenty to go around. People have donated hygiene items, socks, and hats so our guests could receive a gift.
The other highlight of the party is always Betty Bolander who has long been the one to provide her talent of playing Christmas carols. Many of our guests share in the singing and I always shed a tear or two as I stand in the room and witness the way in which music brings people together. It’s a special time and my prayer is that our guests felt the care and love that should come with Christmas. It is my prayer that all about whom I care can find even a moment of joy in a season that sometimes can be hard.
Blessings to you and yours this holiday season!