How can you find joy in a season when in a small New England town 26 families bury their loved ones? How do you find peace even in honoring a fine senator who lived a long and honest life of public service? Why is there evil in a world so full of good? How do you hope for light on the darkest day of the year?
That is the mystery of the season, and the mystery of life. “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die,” the Bible says in Ecclesiastes. “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.”
On the solstice the sun hovers almost motionless in the sky as our big blue marble makes its dance around the solar system. On Tuesday, Christmas, the light returns. Whether God’s grace or the simple light of a sun rising ever higher, hope returns. Laughter returns. Joy returns. It is the joy that has always been within us, the joy we sometimes forget in these dark, cold and lonely days.
Love, hope, warmth, simple gifts and the embrace of friends, family and community: these are the things we celebrate. These are the things that keep us alive in a time when surviving seems to be an impossible struggle. Love, hope, warmth. That’s all there is sometimes, something worth celebrating, indeed, on this weekend of peace. Love, hope, warmth: may you find it among friends in this amazing town at the edge of the sea — perhaps in fellowship like these Best Bets?
BEST BREAKING BREAD BET: Speaking of fellowship, here’s a chance to meet your friends and make new ones. Sit down to dinner at 5:30 p.m. today for a free community meal at the United Methodist Church on East End Road. Want to really make friends? Stick around afterward and help clean up and do the dishes, too.
BEST WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD: The Legislative Information Office has moved up the hill to Pioneer Avenue and Bartlett Street. Check out their new offices, learn how to send public opinion messages, and meet Senator-elect Peter Micciche and Rep. Paul Seaton and their staffs. An open house is 2 to 6 p.m. today.
BEST HALLELUJAH BET: In these times of trouble, nothing lifts the spirits like song. Visit Christian Community Church at 7 p.m. today for a night of community Christmas carols. The church also holds a candlelight service from 6 to 7 p.m. Christmas eve. Faith Lutheran also holds Christmas Eve services from 8 to 9 p.m.
BEST IT’S A WRAP AGAIN BET: Bring those scissors and tape and give the gift of caring at the Share the Spirit food box packing and gift wrapping. It starts at 9 a.m. Friday in the Homer High School commons.
BEST BRING THE LIGHT BET: Dance, sing, play instruments, mediate and do a little yoga for a solstice gathering from 6 p.m. to midnight Friday at the cedar cabin on East End Road and the Art Barn. Bring food, drink and musical instruments and dress for indoors and outdoors. An outdoor fire is provided.
BEST HO-HO-HO BET: After the presents are wrapped and the tree trimmed, work off a little tension with the Christmas Eve Skate Party at Kevin Bell Ice Arena from 2 to 5 p.m. Monday. The K-Bay Marines sponsor the event. Semper fi, Marines. Bring a plate of treats to share and say hi to Santa as he stops in on the Alaska leg of his day.