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Tottenville History

Holiday Edition

November / December 2012
So much sadness occurring recently has challenged the holidays this year. 
Deaths, homes and possessions lost, killing of innocent children and teachers, all weigh heavy on our hearts.
However, to disregard the holidays completely is to do a disservice to ourselves.  Of course, we do not need the commercial aspect of the holidays that tears us from the real meaning of them.  Yet we need holidays, to take a step out of our everyday lives, to reflect on that which we do have, and on that which we can give.  That goodness keeps us on the path of defeating evil.  It is what makes us truly human.
No one can do everything to make our world better, and to eliminate all pain, but every one can do something to try.  Together, just imagine what we can do!
Staten Island Parent Magazine asked me to do their December cover story about the holidays on Staten Island this year, as well as to begin a series in January reflecting on the recovery.
The Holidays on Staten Island This Year by AngieMangino
Some years ago, Our Lady Help of Christians Church gave out a flyer by an Unknown Author that I framed to put out with my Christmas decorations each year since then. I would like to share it with those who may not have seen it, as both a holiday gift and an appropriate reminder at this time for all of us. 
It says what is in my heart right now better than I can as I wish all of you a blessed holiday season and New Year.
“If I decorate my house perfectly with red and green bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another decorator.
If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another cook.
If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.
If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir’s cantata, but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.
Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.
Love is kind, though hurried and tired.
Love doesn’t envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and linens.
Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.
Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.
Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust.
But giving the gift of love will endure forever.”

2 Comments to Holiday Edition:

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Mr. Smith on Saturday, December 29, 2012 6:31 PM
one can often wonder on the material aspect of the holidaze, the expensive gifts to be wrapped & the nostalgic ornaments to be hung on the tree. quite a paradox. i think the true meaning of Christmas lies above us, in heaven with His angels to protect us from harm. basically, i adore the giving more than the actual preparation & madness of finding that perfect gift. there has been so much a sense of loss to our identities & culture. we must be strong together. our faith must guide us down that lonely highway. i've known angie for our conversations & am proud to have her as a friend & mentor. i hope this makes sense. i realise my comments here might not be as eloquent as my poetry. anyhow, look within to seek out the heart of Christmas. be aware. live in the moment no matter how mundane or trivial. take care of one another. this is our connected world after all.
Reply to comment
Angie Mangino on Sunday, December 30, 2012 12:43 PM
It's so true that the heart of Christmas is found when we look within. Well said.

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