Christmas thoughts

Published 3:24 pm Thursday, December 21, 2017

For some, it starts a few days before Dec. 25, others months before. Most of us start focusing after Thanksgiving. Some decorate with gorgeous decorations and bright lights, while others prefer less ornate surroundings. Still others choose little or no decorating. Some choose fresh-cut trees with care, while others buy artificial trees. Some use colorful lights, while others select clear bulbs. Some are excited about the new toys they look forward to receiving, others fret about what gifts to give to whom and if they like what they got them. Some enjoy wrapping gifts and do it with care, others consider it a chore and want it done and over with.

Some wish for a white Christmas, as others wish for good weather for the travel to visit friends and family. On the issue of travel, some will travel various distances and directions to see family, while others are delighted to have folks come to visit them. Some attend Christmas Eve church services, enjoying hymns with their church families. Others remain with family at home or run last-minute errands.

However, no matter how you celebrate the season, it is also a time to remember. Remember those who are no longer with us or cannot be with us. Parents and grandparents are always part of Christmas memories. I still think about my grandparents and the trips visiting them both near and far. I remember the first Christmas after my father died; it still brings back memories. I was 12 at the time. The previous year, I was given a bike. The year he died, I was given a basketball and hoop. Living in the country with only a tree to attach it to, the greatest challenge was figuring how to climb a ladder and attach it by myself. (I never was able get it level.)

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Now with our children living on their own, three of them are able to spend at least part of the time with us. However, with our son David still in the Navy in Japan, it feels like it is only half a holiday. All the same bustling around but the emptiness of not having all of the family together is somewhat of a letdown. He will come a month from now. We have decided that we will celebrate a second Christmas at that time.

Every family has memories and challenges like these. Those emotional strains are usually greatest during this holiday season as we see joy on so many faces. Yet it is important to stop all the hustle and bustle and reflect not on our problems and challenges but rather appreciate the gift of grace that we have been given by our Lord, always remembering that what is most important is why we celebrate His birth. In honor of Him, please offer assistance and love to those you come in contact with, understanding they too need for the voids in their lives to be filled. That would be the greatest gift you can give Jesus in honor of the gift He has offered each of us — the forgiveness of sins.

To each and everyone, have a wonderful Christmas and spread God’s love to all.

Frank Ruff Jr. serves as 15th District Senator in Virginia. He can be reached at, (434) 374-5129 or P.O. Box 332, Clarksville, VA 23927.