Sharing the glorious blessings of Christmas.

This week's Hammertime looks at the gifts of Christmastime.

By now wherever we travel, there is absolutely no doubt that it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and hopefully most of you out there during this balmy early winter have caught the festive spirit and are rushing around to attend the annual concerts and staff parties, while shopping in a totally organized and stress-free mode. With great spark and creativity, we are trimming the tree and decorating our homes and shops inside and out to suit the gala occasion, while pausing to plan and really look forward to the annual joyful Yuletide gatherings and camaraderie of family and friends.

As we hustle and bustle in all directions during this delightfully modern but always traditional month of December, hopefully we will find time to honour the true meaning of Christmas….the birth of the Christ child so many centuries ago in a chilly but glowing stable on the outskirts of Bethlehem. This glorious time should also be so much about giving and sharing with loved ones and friends, but on top of all that there is also the feel good joy that comes right from the heart when we can all have the opportunity of reaching out to those who are not as fortunate as others. Unfortunately, there are many souls among us who are homeless, alone, far from home, or may be shut-in due to illness or disabilities, and let us not forget that at the present time in our great province of Alberta many others are unemployed, down on their luck, and would really need and appreciate a helping hand for themselves and their families.

We have many choices of how we can support many special causes, especially at this time of the year, and these may include a little cash into the bright red and traditional Salvation Army Kettles in many locations, as well as donations and supplies to the local food banks, which are currently in overwhelming demand by clients over this holiday and the winter months ahead. The annual Santa’s Anonymous Christmas Hamper Campaign is now in its 34th year under the direction of the Ponoka Secondary Campus, whose decorated collection boxes are located throughout the community. With the winter months ahead, many families and individuals will be in dire need of warmer coats, boots and clothes, which can be kindly dropped off at the Ponoka United Church Thrift Shop or other collection boxes around town. Once again the gala CP Christmas holiday train rolled into Ponoka last week and treated hundreds of onlookers of all ages to a glorious display of lights and song. The host, Ponoka Lion’s Club and their volunteers happily report and appreciate the excellent public donations of many pounds of non-perishable items and cash to the Ponoka Food Bank. As always, the Ponoka Kinsmen/Kinettes hosted their traditional magnificent Carol Festival at the United Church and presented another generous offering to the local food bank.

For those who have not made any plans for Christmas dinner, the popular annual Ponoka Community Christmas will be held on Friday, Dec. 25 at the Royal Canadian Legion and everyone is welcome to attend. Coffee and entertainment goes from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, followed by a glorious turkey buffet dinner and all the trimmings from noon until 1 p.m. Donations to the gala event are always welcome and can be made by calling Bob Hepp at 403-783-6165 or dropped off at the Ponoka Rising Sun Clubhouse or Servus Credit Union, while those wishing to join in and volunteer or entertain for the occasion are asked to call Carla Prediger at 403-783-4078 or Val Schabert at 403-783-8799. Over the years. I have been so fortunate to be able to contribute to many Christmas events, and I will always be overwhelmed by the ongoing spirit, compassion and support of all of you in and around our community who are so willing to reach out to others in all sorts of caring and wonderful ways. You are all the best, and you deserve to have a jolly good week, all of you.


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