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Very Special Christmas Pageant 
Thanksgiving is over and Christmas is fast approaching. It seems like the stores start putting Christmas merchandise out earlier and earlier and people get caught up in the commercialism and forget what the season is really all about. Many complain about "having" to buy gifts for this one and that one instead of having the feeling of joy in their hearts by making someone truly happy. Maybe people might think of not purchasing something, but giving from the heart by using the precious commodity of time to share themselves and love throughout the year. We all need to show others we care. Too many people feel alone in this world and shouldn't. Yes, many do give money, and do some charitable things, but so often it ends at that time of the year. I am deeply saddened by some of the news of the day, and especially right in our own communities. It seems so long ago when people would come together and discuss differences, and work them out, and it ultimately would bring them closer together. The reason for writing this article is to bring attention to whom many might call "challenged" people, but many times I think we are the challenged ones. They find such joy in every day. I have witnessed this in volunteering at the Trail of Hope in Lyons, and in the Special Christmas Pageant at the First Presbyterian Church in Lyons that I was privileged to attend last night. A soft snow was falling as I approached the church, and the door slowly opened, and the light from the church spilled out onto the outside. I could see the joy on the faces of those who were to be in the pageant, and others to watch something that they knew would warm their hearts.
Carol Kildoyle with her two helpers from the Trail of Hope
I no sooner took my seat than two girls, who I worked side by side with at the Trail of Hope, came quickly down the aisle calling my name. They were wearing their sheep costumes and I couldn't wait to grab them and give them a big hug. Children give us such joy if we take the time to really be "in the moment" with them. The start of a wonderful evening. The program was so beautiful in it's simplicity. Various " challenged" people were dressed up as Mary and Joseph, and kings and shepherds etc. The minister would give certain ones a few words to say. They would anxiously repeat it with such enthusiasm. In between the story, the audience would sing the hymns we know and love. There were many highlights, but what stood out especially for me were the solo songs that were sung again by people we might call "challenged". One song was Shine On, which talked about shining our light out into the world, and the other was the Lord's Prayer. It was sung with such a deep feeling and ended in a crescendo that brought tears to my eyes. As they were standing in the front of the church, the unity they shared was so wonderful to see. Each was enjoying being with the other, and caring about them. At the end of the service, one of the groups asked the minister to pray for Billy who was with the angels. They all agreed in unison. I feel so humbled in describing the evening because of all the overwhelming beauty that was all around me, and so hard to adequately describe. What an example they are to all of us. They have their "hills to climb" but do it willingly and with such joy, but at the same time thinking of others. We need to emulate that in our lives. Many of them have more in their lives to deal with then most of us, but still find happiness in every day. At the end of the program we all sang happy birthday to Jesus. A reminder of what the holiday is all about. Let us remember that as we celebrate the joyous occasion, and as the New Year approaches, please try to reach out to others every day. We never know what sadness they are experiencing. Yesterday I was in the doctor’s office with a friend, and a man came in and started listening to one of the funny Christmas songs on the radio. He sang a little of it and smiled, and said he liked that song. As he talked to the receptionist, I overheard him say he would like to see the doctor. He said that his father and wife passed away in the last week. I wanted so much to go up and hug him to let him know I cared. He was suffering so, but still was trying to get through his day in the best way he could. I think the best gift we could give to ourselves and to others, is our friendship, and love, and caring. It will help to relieve others burdens, and in return will add so much to our lives. A very Merry Christmas to all and the best New Year ever.

Carol Kildoyle


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