Hope for the holidays

Published 9:32 am Saturday, December 24, 2016

Darnell E. Whitfield

In 1954, Robert Allen and Al Stillman wrote a beautiful holiday classic titled, “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays.”
The song was beautifully sung by Perry Como and has been a hit since November of 1954, in fact, “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays” is one of many Christmas favorites that is played every year in the truck, in the car and, especially, in our home.
The first verse of the song says, “Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays, ‘Cause no matter how far away you roam, When you pine for the sunshine of a friendly gaze, For the holidays you can’t beat home, sweet home.”
My wife, Angel, and I love to travel and just as the last verse of the song says, “For the holidays you can’t beat home sweet home.”
Christmas is a time when family should be together to experience the excitement of little ones to stand for a moment in awe of the gifts at the bottom of the tree, or the oneness of adults grabbing a handful of freshly baked cookies, singing “Jingle Bells” for the seventh time and ready to go again.
Angel and I love Christmas; in fact, she is so into Christmas that I gave her the nickname, “Christmas Queen.” She and I love the sounds, the movies, the smell of pine and Christmas dinner. There’s no place like home for the holidays, and yet there are many among us that are home for Christmas with no sounds, no movies, no smells of pine or Christmas dinner.
They are the disenfranchised, the sick, the mentally ill, and they need hope for the holidays!
I am reminded of a man by the name of Bartimaeus, in Mark 10th chapter (ESV):
46 And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside.
47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
48 And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
49 And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.”
50 And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus.
51 And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.”
52 And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.”
Jesus was always there for those who were in need.
Friends, let’s try and make it well with those in our community that have no family by giving them a call, or send a card to let them know that they have not been forgotten, as Angel and I did this year.
We sent 28 Christmas cards to people in our neighborhood who we had never met, and I know you may be asking, “Why?”
The answer is simply I wanted people to know that somebody out there cared enough to send a card, and maybe, just maybe a little love would be felt by the receiver.
Take some of those goodies that you baked for Christmas, wrap them in wax paper and pas it to that elderly man or woman who can’t do much for themselves.
You know, I have always listened to people to feel proud of the fact that they provided for a family member, but my question is, why don’t you provide something for a stranger? Because, it is sometimes easy to come to the rescue of a loved one; however, can you extend the same love to one that you have no connection, other that you are of the human race?
There is nothing like hope for the holidays,
Because no matter in whatever way you turn,
Bring a smile to someone as you go along the way,
For the holidays you can’t beat hope and love.
That’s my take on home for the holidays, and that is hope for the holidays!
‘Till next year, I am wishing you all, the merriest of Christmas and a most prosperous New Year, with God’s blessing in Jesus name!

The Rev. DARNELL WHITFIELD is senior pastor of Diamond Grove Baptist Church in Franklin. Contact him at 742-1343 or revwhitfield@me.com.