McDowell Technical Community College


By Barbara Harrell

As we get ready to move into December and the Christmas season, I find that I am rather melancholy.  Thinking back to childhood and the wonder of the season.  My sister and I used to count the lights hung for display all the way home from Baltimore on the old Highway 11.  My Dad found work up there, and we became city dwellers. (LOL) The trip back to Western North Carolina was a real highlight of the Christmas season and not every house had lights.

Years before that living on White Oak in Bakersville, we were so excited because this was the one time of year we could have candy.  A trip to Harper and Cates Store with the glass counter filled with loose candy was an awesome sight to a little girl.  We were allowed to pick a few pieces, and it went into the prized little brown bag, to be cherished for weeks. The Christmas tree secured from a field, where it was growing wild, and lots of tinsel and a few packages under it meant it would soon be time for Santa Claus.

But the most exciting thing was getting ready for the Christmas play.  Even if I didn’t have a part, this was the time to shop for that one “new” outfit of the year.  The play that would tell us again how a tiny baby born in a manger in Bethlehem would become my Saviour.  This was the highlight of the year as well as the season.

Looking around me today as we move into this season it brings a certain sadness that so many people have lost the wonder of this season, as we once again retell that old old story that should still fill us with awe.  Too many gifts, too many lights, too much candy has left us jaded to the entire season.  When my grandchildren were little I would make individual cakes for each to decorate for Jesus’ birthday.  It is with much pride I have watched our children raise those grandchildren in the old traditions with the church and Jesus’ birthday being the center.

This year Doug and I have focused much of our year and even paper space to the drug problems of this county and our distribution area.  As we move into this season today it looks much different.  Our projects for helping humanity have changed.  We are now trying to feed very hungry children who live in homes where the parents are addicted and can’t even feed them, let alone fill those stockings and gift boxes.  Many of these same children have at least one parent spending time in the prison system because of that same old drug problem.

I would throw out a challenge to our readers.  If you are looking for a place to make a real difference this Christmas season—get involved with some of these precious children whose needs are great.  Get involved with our elderly who are wasting away in these nursing and retirement homes.  I see in my mind’s eye a trip I made with my grandchildren who were coming to Mimi Camp this summer.  It was probably the most significant thing we did.  We visited the Brian Center and read to and loved on these precious ones who feel so unneeded now.

If you know someone who is struggling with addiction don’t be afraid to step out and reach out your hand to help, even if it means inviting them to have a meal in your home.  This is God’s child deserving of God’s love just as we are.

Merry Christmas and God Bless each and everyone of you and let’s Go Out and Make a Difference for Our Lord!!