From COVID to Christmas to farewell

I have always enjoyed writing my December column.

Writing about the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus, is the miracle of love.

The birth of Jesus Christ is told in Matthew 1:18-25. It can also be found in Luke 2:1-20.

These scriptures are the basis of many church Christmas plays and services.

I love this time of year because people just seem happier, more compassionate and helpful.

Let us not forget the “Reason for the Season.”

God is love itself, as found in I John 4:10.

We celebrate Christmas each year out of gratitude for what God did for us. We remember His birth by giving gifts, worshiping Him and being especially conscious of the poor and less fortunate.

So, the next time you see a red kettle, drop in a few coins. Take a name from the Salvation Army’s “Giving Tree.”

Churches and banks sponsor “angel trees.” Check in your area for information.

I’ve taken a few names from the such giving trees each year, trying to teach my grandchildren the importance of helping the less fortunate children.

Amy Grant said it well: “Faith is salted and peppered through everything at Christmas. And I love at least one night by the Christmas tree to sing and feel the quiet holiness of that time that’s set apart to celebrate love, friendship, and God’s gift of the Christ child.”

We need to spread kindness, compassion and caring throughout the entire year, not just at Christmas time.

This time of year is full of activities — shopping, baking, decorating, wrapping. The list could go on, but it makes me tired just to think about it.

I was actually a little ahead of the game until COVID-19 decided to pay me a visit.

Well, it ended up that my husband, my son and his family and myself all got this virus.

I hadn’t felt like myself for a couple days. As I began to fry bacon one morning, I could not smell the bacon at all.

I immediately went to the bathroom to spray some perfume. No smell.

I knew that lack of smell or taste was a sign of COVID.

I told my husband that I needed to get tested. He took me to MedExpress and they ran a rapid-test. Twenty minutes later the doctor came out to our car and gave me the bad news — I had tested positive for COVID-19.

I was sick for about 10 days, with days three and four probably my worst.

I had no fever; however, I did have a cough, sore throat, no appetite, slight headache, overwhelming fatigue and unbelievable body aches.

I ended up in the emergency room twice to receive IV fluids.

Slowly I began to improve. It’s been over a month now and I still have bouts of fatigue.

Janet Lanese, (author of “Grandmothers Are Like Snowflakes … No Two Are Alike”), has asked, “What’s so simple even a small child can manipulate it?” The answer is GRANDMA.

I enjoy watching my grandchildren get so excited during this magical time of year. I believe in the “it’s better to give than receive” phrase.

It doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be money, either. It could be your time, talent or just to lend an ear to someone.

Many of my friends, family and neighbors look forward to tasting my homemade goods. If your family has no traditions, this is a good time to start one.

After about a dozen years of penning this column, this will be my last piece for The Times Leader, so I’d like to thank the newspaper personnel and friends I’ve made at the office.

I’d like to thank you, my readers, for commenting on my columns and introducing yourselves to me on occasion.

I hope over the last 12 years or so, I’ve planted a little seed, a little thought, maybe a different way to view things, something to make you and your world a more positive place.

Maybe you’ve heard of the little poem by Josh McDowell titled “Life Is Like That:”

If you always do

What you’ve always done

You’ll always be

What you’ve always been.

Step out of your comfort zone, do something different or new. Then continue to build on it throughout the years.

May we all be a blessing to someone else.

I pray that God richly blesses you this holiday season. Also that the year of 2021 brings much happiness, stability and love to your life!

Editor’s note: After more than a decade of writing a monthly column for The Times Leader, Debbie Karras has decided to “retire” from making those contributions to allow more time for other pursuits. We feel certain that both she and her columns will be missed by Times Leader readers and staff. Thank you, Debbie, for your years of service.


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