Comings and Goings…We are blessed beyond measure – how will we share this holiday season?

The holiday season is soon upon us and who doesn’t get excited thinking about the family/friend gatherings around the Thanksgiving dinner table or the thought of Christmas as perhaps this year we’ll sing the old song, “Let There Be Peace On Earth” in a church service as we face days of uncertainty around the world.

When I think of Thanksgiving it’s always about family gatherings where most of Mama’s family gathered each year with the traditional turkey/trimmings dinner. 

 For some today, even before the dishes are cleaned and the turkey trimmings put away, it’s time to shop or at least go look for a Christmas tree. 

I suppose as we look around us, we can certainly be thankful for the blessings of waking up to another day, having  a family, a few good friends, food and shelter. 

Counting blessings means more to me this year as wars are raging in our world. Around the Thanksgiving tables we’ll pray for peace on earth and that it could begin in our lives everyday. 

As we gather together to ask the Lord’s blessings, could it be that we might show more gratitude than ever for family, friends and health?

Although my immediate family isn’t always together on Thanksgiving Day, we still talk about those days of having a table spread with turkey, dressing, gravy, green beans and corn when we were all still at home. The best meal of the year usually came after working in the yard or field which made it even more special. 

Thanksgiving meant catching up on garden chores before winter and raking leaves.

After a day of celebrating thankfulness some of us will gather in towns across the county to celebrate the lighting of another season.

In Downtown Forest City more than 1 million lights will come on during the annual service on Nov 23 – Thanksgiving evening — to officially kick off the Christmas season.

The towns of Lake Lure, Chimney Rock will shine as never before and no doubt The Flowering Bridge will glisten with  tiny white lights bringing us together as friends.

A Community Wide Holiday Celebrating and Lighting Ceremony will be November 28 at Isothermal Community College’s Foundation. Luminaries will light the pathways in front of the Foundation beginning November 28 until January 1, 2024. Everyone is invited to stop by and walk the paths filled with lights in memory or in honor of loved ones. You can buy a luminary through the website:

I  had to say good-bye to too many friends this year. A luminary can be a reminder of the light they brought us and to the county.

Some of these ceremonies will include fresh baked sugar cookies and hot tea or apple cider, bringing happy thoughts of a simpler time. 

If you’re new to Rutherford County, plan right now to become involved in some of the events marking the most  wonderful times of the year.

 Share the season with those you love.

Remember the Christmases past.

There are photos in family albums of my three sleepy-eyed sisters and I sitting on the floor holding tightly to our new baby dolls Santa Claus left us. 

We always traveled to our grandparents house for Christmas dinner where we shared a meal and listened as Grandpa read from Luke 2 — the Greatest Story Ever Told. Later we exchanged gifts.

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year as we meet with friends, loved ones, enjoy the colors of the season, attend church candlelight services, hear our favorite songs and watch Christmas movies.

A favorite tradition as a child was getting into the family car to “go see the Christmas lights.” We only did that one night during the season — which made it so special.

We will remember our Christmases past as we look to this season in 2023 with the same hope and joy that comes during this time of the year.

Ring those bells, give big and be a bright light shining in your home and community.

Reach out to those in need. Give an extra can of food or monetary donation to those organizations collecting for the least of these. We can do no less. We are beyond blessed.

This can be the best holiday season ever if it starts in our own hearts – and we pass it on.

Let There Be Peace On Earth and let it begin in me.

Jean Gordon is an award-winning journalist, spending her career writing about Rutherford County.

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