African American news from Pasadena - Lifestyle - Giving - Loss of a loved one and holidaysMy husband George and I often watch Hallmark movies in our spare time. Yes, they are kind of corny, but they are warm, inspirational and they tug at your heart and draw a tear now and then. These movies promote good values: loving, caring, decency, spirituality, sacrifice for family, and last, but certainly not least, giving. They focus on the importance of relationships and the fact that we need each other.

One of the best lessons we can learn is the importance and benefits of giving. My pastor, Lucious Smith, often reminds us that "you can give without loving, but you can't love without giving." Giving helps, inspires, uplifts, brings gladness, and changes circumstances in a positive way. We all have something to give: our time, talent and, or treasure. Giving blesses others, but it blesses the giver as well. Giving impacts lives for good, no matter how small.

As we give during this Christmas Season, let us not forget the poor, homeless, ill, the imprisoned and especially the bereaved. Remember, we all need the assistance or support of someone daily.

I submit the following poem as a gift to those who have lost loved ones this year.

"My First Christmas In Heaven"

I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below
With tiny lights, like Heaven's stars, reflecting on the snow.

The sight is so spectacular, please wipe away that tear
For I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear
But the sounds of music can't compare with the Christmas Choir here.

I have no words to tell you, the joy their voices bring,
For it is beyond description, to hear the angels sing.

I know how much you miss me, I see the pain inside your heart.
But I am not so far away, we really aren't apart.

So be happy for me dear ones, you know I hold you dear.
And be glad I'm spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I sent you each a special gift, from my heavenly home above.
I sent you each a memory of my undying love.

After all, love is a gift more precious than pure gold.
It was always most important in the stories Jesus told.

Please love and keep each other, as my Father said to do.
For I can't count the blessings or love He has for each of you.

So have a Merry Christmas and wipe away that tear
Remember, I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

[Gail Valentine Taylor, M.S.W., Funeral Director Woods-Valentine Mortuary, at www.woodsvalentinemortuary.com or 626-798-8941.]



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