Tag Archives: Christmas

Niagara Does Good!



The Christmas Season is upon us, and it’s a great time of year to share the blessings we’ve received with those who are not as fortunate. There are many wonderful organizations that make it their business to give to people in need, in various ways. So take your pick as to how you’d like to make the season brighter for those around you!




The Salvation Army of Niagara Falls is hosting a live walk through Nativity Scene called “The Journey to Bethlehem”. This takes place on December 5th and 6th beginning at 6:00 pm. This is a fun opportunity for the whole family, and treats are served upstairs.



As far as doing some good through the Army, you can “adopt a family” or participate in the Christmas Angel Tree, for a child. Please call the church for details on how to do this. (283-7697)




The Magdalene Project goes into the toughest areas of Niagara Falls and Buffalo, finding those most in need, including many children. They distribute food, clothes and toiletries. This year they had a wonderful Thanksgiving feast and there’s also a Christmas project in the works. So, if you would care to participate, here is the link: http://www.themagdaleneproject.net/christmas_gift_bag_ministry



Each year Community Missions helps nearly 140 of Niagara County’s neediest families. In addition to gifts for the children, families are given a $25 grocery gift card to go towards their holiday meal as well as a turkey. Donations of turkeys, hams, or other non-perishable holiday food items are greatly appreciated this time of year and will be distributed at Thanksgiving and Christmas.





Every year, the Firefighters Toy Fund delivers Christmas toys to over 1000 children in the area and sees that new winter clothing is provided to between 400 and 500 children in need, who would otherwise go without. Their generosity helps so many local families.




Heart, Love and Soul is a year round charity program in Niagara Falls, and they provide many of the necessities that we take for granted, to those in need. They can always use donations, especially around the holidays.



We are sure that there are many other worthy organizations, and you, yourself probably encounter people on your daily walk in life who could use a hand. Lets keep in mind that this is the season of good will toward mankind, and let’s not stop there – let’s keep it up the whole year through.


The Fragrant Allure of Christmas


What is it about Christmas that gets under our skin? Why does it evoke such emotion, passion and sentimentality?

People often either want to eliminate it altogether, hide it in a package called “the holidays” or make it into something that can be bought, sold and opened up on Christmas morning. There are even those who would use it as a rallying post of purity; a fundamental bludgeon.

I’m reminded of Charlie Brown’s frustration on Schultz’s television Christmas special of nearly fifty years ago. Charlie wanted to find out what Christmas was all about. He had a natural repugnancy toward commercialism, but didn’t really know what to put in its place.

Charlie was in charge of directing the Christmas play and was obviously poor at doing so. He was assigned the task of finding a Christmas tree for the play, so he went out to a corner lot where trees of various shapes and sizes were for sale. These trees, each and every one of them, looked perfect, each in their own way. They were tall, short, thin, stout, simple, ornate, and all of them appeared to be imitation.

Charlie found one tree that was such a poor specimen as to barely be deserving of that title. Really, it was more like a sparsely needled branch. What could he possibly have seen in it? Well, Charlie felt that it was ‘real’ and in need of love, and he felt that it could be brought about by a bit of TLC. I have a sneaking suspicion that that was how Charlie thought of himself.

So, here we are, in the season, once again, being bombarded by the push and idealism that has become so much of the Christmas we all know. Cooking channels show us how to create magnificent dishes, commercials invite us to “save, save, save” after we spend, spend, spend. Our ‘to do’ lists are endless, and our shopping lists longer.

In churches, on one hand and Facebook posts, on the other, we are hammered with our essential lack of spirituality, regarding Christmas. And by the time it’s all done, we are spent, spent, spent!

The January “guilts” are close at hand. Yet we keep coming back for more.

So what is it? Sure, the economy is given a great push, for some, tradition traps them into participation, and then there is that whole family “thing”.

But like Charlie, I’d like to know what is at the bottom of this crazy time; this time of such intensity, exhaustion, and exhilaration; the rush that we call Christmas?

Linus said it in Charlie Brown’s Christmas; the answer at the end of Charlie’s quest. Linus, in his child’s voice quietly quoting Luke 2:8-14, the story of Christmas, “For unto you is born, this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”

So that’s it? God in swaddling clothes, in a trough meant for animals to eat out of? Could it really be just that simple? That complicated?

Could it be that the child was born to a modest carpenter instead of a King? Could it be that he was meant to be born of humble circumstance rather than that of wealth and fame? Could this mean something more? Perhaps that He, Himself was real, and that He came for real people? That He came to help fix the sad, broken down, and discarded Christmas trees of this world? The Charlie Browns?

Yet, despite the humble entrance, heaven couldn’t help itself; an angelic choir descended upon a small group of unobtrusive shepherds, a display yet to be matched by any cathedral here on earth. Wise men; Kings arrived baring gifts of rarity and worth. The sweet smelling fragrance of frankincense was placed at the feet of the “Rose of Sharon”, one of the names of the Christ child.

No, the core of the story of Christmas cannot be bought or sold, but has already been paid. It is the story of love, of acceptance, of the instilling of worth upon ordinary people, people who would often be overlooked and forgotten by the imitation.

But it is also the celebration of glory; filled with glitz and glam and wonder and awe. It is an alluring fragrance, the fragrance that is Christmas itself.