Sunday, November 25, 2007

Notes From My Knapsack 12-02-07
Jeff Gill

You Will Be Festive, Or Else!

Licking County is mustering her best resources to put holiday cheer front and center as December begins.

This column is just going to continue for one more week helping get the word out, about worthwhile and wonderful seasonal events. Many are free, and most that have a fee direct that to groups like the Licking County Food Pantry Network – and don’t forget the Elves in Action by the Gazebo on Courthouse Square for that cause!

Handel’s “Messiah” echoes from the historic walls of Second Presbyterian Church on Sunday evening, Dec. 2, at 7:00 pm, with their choir along with those of First United Methodist Church and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, guided together by Jeanette Muzzalupo and Rick Black. There will be a reception afterwards.

If you’d like a second look at Second Pres, they’re one of the eight downtown sanctuaries on display for the Newark “Sights and Sounds of Christmas” on Thursday night, Dec. 6, starting at 6:00 pm. The full details can be found at their website, Eight years makes this a well rooted tradition, supporting the Food Pantry Network, of course.

Licking Valley High School will offer a Christmas Concert by their Band and Choir programs that Thursday night, at 7:00 pm, in the HS auditorium. Their jazz and concert ensembles will include seasonal favorites along with a few unexpected surprises, and the drive out through “The Valley” will no doubt make it even more worth the trip, seeing the Christmas lights along the hillsides, and the many banners celebrating their state champio. . . oh, I can’t say that yet? Sorry. We’ll say more about that later, then!

Then Friday night, Dec. 7, Dawes Arboretum lights up their grounds with luminaries around the Daweswood House loop; from 5:30 to 8 pm you can enjoy the beauty for two cans of food or $5 for the . . . yes, the LCFPN. You’re catching on!

Park National Bank and Time-Warner is helping to get enough bodies out to place the hundreds, thousands maybe, of carefully placed sacks, and light their candles at the proper time. Sounds a little risky, weather-wise? Well, they have good fortune in the past with this, but Saturday Dec. 8 is the “rain date.”

We hope they won’t use that, because the Newark High School Concert Choir and Chamber Orchestra is presenting Vivaldi’s “Gloria!” at Second Pres that night at 7:00 pm.

And before everyone leaves College Hill in Granville for the holiday break, the Denison University Office of Religious Life and the Dept. of Music will open wide the vast doors of Swasey Chapel for a “Service of Lessons and Carols.” Open to the community for the Sunday, Dec. 9 service at 7:00 pm, the program is directed by Mark Orten, chaplain, and Kevin Wines, liturgist and conductor.

If you just catch half of those opportunities, not only will you know more about your community, you will have helped make it a better place for all of us to live, and you’ll be feeling downright festive. Or else!

Or else what? Well, take a kid with you down to Courthouse Square in Newark, and some cans of soup or tinned meat or jars of peanut butter, then drive around the square a few times.

Ease over to your left past the Wendy’s and the old man handing out candy bars in front of the county building, and slide up to the gaggle of elves. Give the sack of food to the child in the car, and let them give the items to the friends of the food pantry on duty.
Watch the kid’s eyes, and that’s what else. You might just see reflected in their eyes the reason for the season.

Look close, and listen well, and rejoice.

Jeff Gill is a writer, storyteller, and supply preacher around central Ohio; if you wonder why your group’s special event isn’t in this column, you need to send it to him (with a couple weeks leadtime!) at

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