With Christmas Day just two weeks away, the “season for giving” is well under way. As I’ve said before, I love giving and receiving tangible gifts for Christmas. I know it’s “better to give than to receive”, but I still enjoy both.
I also cherish the intangible gifts of Christmas. Family and friends are a blessing for all seasons-and especially at Christmas time. The holidays can be hectic, but the presence of family and friends reminds us of the spiritual meaning of Christmas: Jesus Christ is “the reason for the season.”
Our extended family was triply blessed this year. Our first blessing arrived on Jan. 16 when Judd Bratcher was born to Jacob and Lauren Bratcher. Judd’s grandparents are Delois and the late Jeff Bratcher, Joey and Susan Grandey.
Our second blessing came on Nov. 4, when Colt Bratcher was born to Joshua and Olivia Bratcher. Colt’s grandparents are Delois and the late Jeff Bratcher, Billy Joe and Carolyn Youngblood. We celebrated our third blessing Nov. 5. That’s when we witnessed the wonderful wedding of granddaughter Katelyn Stephens and Olliver Teston. Doris and Junior Stephens are Katelyn’s parents. Joe and Lucy Lee Teston are Oliver’s parents.
Even as we bask in the warmth of our own bountiful blessings, we realize the season so joyous for many can be so sad for those who are alone and lonely. For them, a visit, phone call or card can help lift their morale -- if we take the time.
Another way to share our blessings is by giving to worthy charities. Some are more worthy than others. So, please “Trust, but verify,” before you give. Two of my favorite charities are Nursing Home Christmas and the Tennessee Fisher House Foundation
Nursing Home Christmas has long been a labor of love for my good friend and well-known radio personality, Kelly Marlowe. Nearly two decades ago, he saw the need for someone to help folks in nursing homes, lest they be forgotten at Christmastime. So, he led the way to making it happen. With help from generous donors, he has raised some $130,000 to date, but Kelly still needs our help. Send your donations to: Nursing Home Christmas c/o WBMC, 230 West Colville Street, McMinnville, TN 37110.
The Tennessee Fisher House Foundation has helped make the dream of “a home away from home” come true in Tennessee. The Tennessee Fisher House opened over three years ago at the Alvin C. York VA Medical Center in Murfreesboro. It provides free, comfortable lodging for military families visiting their ailing loved ones. Send your donations to: Tennessee Fisher House Foundation, P.O. Box 774, Brentwood, TN 37024.
These are just a few worthy ways to make your “presence and presents” count during this “season for giving.”
Finally, this timely reminder: “It’s not what you get for Christmas/It’s what you give all year. Like being kind to a stranger/And spreading your own cheer.”
Merry Christmas everyone!
Retired Army Col. Thomas B. Vaughn can be reached at email@example.com.