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From the Desk: Hope you had a wonderful Christmas

December 31, 2008|By DORA DEPAOLI

I hope all our Imperial Valley Press readers had a joyous Christmas. The many musical performances and church services were a great treat once again.

The Christmas Eve candlelight service at our church was beautiful and packed with friends and relatives of members, many visiting from afar for the holiday. It was a delight to see them. The choir, under the direction of DeAnn Hilfiker, sounded heavenly. The final choral anthem, titled “Peace, Peace,” sounded especially lovely when the congregation joined in with two verses of “Silent Night.”

“Silent Night,” called “Stille Nacht” by German composer Franz Gruber, was first sung in the Church of St. Nicholas in Obernorf in the region of Tyrol, high in the Alps. Joseph Mohr wrote the text in 1818, and Gruber came up with the simple tune. The hymn was completed in time for the Christmas Eve Mass. The two men sang the hymn to the accompaniment of Gruber’s guitar, since the church organ was not functioning at the time.

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For the past five or six years, daughter Debbie has been in charge of passing out candles and bags in her South Carolina neighborhood. All 56 families light their luminaries for two hours Christmas Eve. No matter how cold it is, most of the residents stroll around the streets looking at the lovely sight.

This year there was a downpour and the cycle was broken. Many of the families lighted the luminaries the next day.

Debbie recently found out her 11-year-old daughter, Kendall, likes to cut hair. Whenever Kendall’s door is closed her dolls and horses are being shorn. One of her horses stands about 3-feet high, so a lot of scissor work is going on. Her future dolls are going to come from second-hand stores, said her mother.

Some of Debbie’s best shopping occurred at 2 a.m., a few days before Christmas. She couldn’t sleep with so many things still on her list, so she went to Wal-Mart in the wee hours. Only a handful of people were there. Most were restocking shelves and cleaning up.

One of my nicest Christmas experiences was a visit to Imperial County’s Juvenile Hall on Christmas morning. Tony and I accompanied Turning Point Director Mike Johnson to the facility. A woman named Aurora and six Turning Point residents were also there.

After hearing Pastor Mike’s uplifting message, the atmosphere became much more hopeful. Later we served breakfast to those who attended. They seemed to relish the Breakfast Jacks, hot chocolate and pastries. All were very kind to us and seemed to appreciate our being there.

As it turned out, those of us who visited with the young people were the ones most truly blessed.

Favorite Christmas decorations of mine are a pair of colorful elves almost 2 feet tall. These playful characters are constantly on the move. When I go to bed they may be sitting on the chandelier over the table. The next morning they might be in the cookie basket in the laundry room or sitting on the family room mantle. They are always on the move. They seem to be more active when the family is in town. It is always a surprise to see where they will pop up next.

This week I will probably take down our Christmas decorations. It will be a bit sad to remove the various family photographs we received. New babies who graced our refrigerator display for the first time this year included Mallorie Jane, daughter of Mitch and Kelly Kellum; Bryce Allin, son of Bryan and Tasha Denton; Amaris Brielle, daughter of Ryan and Nicole Rothfleisch; and, the youngest baby, Anthony Christopher, son of Chris and Elisa Strahm. Baby Anthony was born Nov. 5.

May your New Year be blessed.

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