Tornado tragedy reminds us of blessings this Christmas

Published 11:02 am Wednesday, December 15, 2021

By Donna Traywick

Mt. Olivet News

It’s with a heavy heart that I try to write an uplifting column this Monday morning. I  woke to a good, warm house with lights just as I saw pictures of the destruction from the tornadoes in Kentucky, Arkansas and Tennessee Friday night. 

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

I’ve tried to imagine what it must be like to have nothing. A picture that had traveled over 100 miles landed on the windshield of an automobile becomes one of your prized possessions. Bottled water, flashlights and blankets are the items those people need the most. 

I began to redefine my life during this Christmas season and what the Christ season really means to me. In years past we have had a beautiful tree with presents spilling out all over the floor. We sometimes became frustrated because we were afraid that it wasn’t the right gift. Did they like it? Did we spend enough money on it? Did I spend too much money?

Friends, stop now – for 60 seconds! What in the world are we doing? Is shopping until we are exhausted really what this season is all about?

At this Christmas season  I began to think about all the gifts that I have been given over this year. I turned 84 in March and that is a gift that many in my family did not receive. My daddy, Jeff Palmertree, died at the age of 48, my siblings Eugene (68), Ellis (60), Glen(58), Annie Louise (13), and Mary Anna (7) have passed.

Only my sister Doris who died at 93, and Ruby that I just lost in November, was older at only a month away from 95 years old. That leaves me left out of eight children. 

It was too soon that I lost my dear husband George who shared with me the immense joy that a child can bring to a marriage. I thank God that I had a soulmate for 38 years. The happy memories far outweigh the sad memories of losing him.

Yes, I have been blessed and thank God for the gift of music. It has sustained me through pain, sickness, and loss of the unknown. It has brought me happiness when I see students who also found this gift.

In November, my daughter LaDonna and her husband Greg celebrated their wedding anniversary. I thank God for the gift of a son-by-marriage. I do not use the term son-in-law. The law did not give me a son, God did. I could not have loved a birthed child more.

In April I was given the gift of friendship when I met with members of my 1955 graduating class. It is a gift that you can not buy with money.

In May, I was given the gift of dialysis. It was a gift that my daddy did not have. I marvel every time I see the amazing technology that brought this gift. My health is much better because of it.

In July,I got to help celebrate my daughter LaDonna’s birthday. 

On Dec. 21, hopefully, I will get to  celebrate my only grandchild, Alex’s, birthday. There have not been words in the language that can explain the joy and love that this child has brought to my life. To say worship him would be a true statement. He is truly a gift from God.

Yet,  on Dec. 25 will be another child’s birth that we need to worship. It’s not the child in the manger that we casually observe in the manger set that we put out each year then put back up until next Christmas. It’s the gift that God gave us that night in the manger, then loved so much that He would allow him to endure the pain of the cross for our sins. The greatest gift that He gave us is eternal life.

Of the many gifts that I have received this year, I could go on and on. While there is still time, why not give a cup of forgiveness to someone who has long needed it? A loaf of thanks to someone who thinks they are forgotten. A pot full of phone calls, cards, quick knocks on doors and prayers to everyone. 

It will be a gift that does not cost money, nor do you have to fight crowds and not have to wonder if they appreciated it.

Now you can give me the gift of your presence at our Christmas program at Mt. Olivet Methodist Church Sunday, Dec. 19 at 11 a.m. I know it will be a blessing to you. Nothing inspires a participant any more than to see a full house.

Thought for the Week: Christmas is not about gettin’ –  it’s about giving, giving, giving .  

Call or text me anytime at 901-828-8824.