By Martha Williams

A few more days and Christmas will be here. Amid all the hustle and bustle, I do wish there was more emphasis placed on the real meaning of the holiday but, unfortunately, these days that seems to be something that makes some folks uncomfortable. Times have changed so much.

As I debated just how much to decorate – because I will be going to my daughter’s house – I decided to be minimalist this year. We will be missing Scott, who is in the Army and will be visiting his Dad. And the rest of my family is scattered all across the country - literally. When you have a big family, and they grow up and go about their own lives, one never knows where they will end up. Add to that grandchildren who are also now grown – the scattering spreads even more.

My friend Deana brought me a pretty sphere of lights that to me can represent the Bethlehem star.

Scratch the big white tree and all the fancier stuff this year. Bring out the little Charlie Brown tree, put it on the piano, and add just a couple more ornaments to the red one. It reminded me of the Charlie Brown Christmas movie, ending with the description of the real Christmas. It works for me.

Plus I won’t have to worry about any tree felling by Jake.

With Christmas falling on Monday, most churches will be having fairly normal Sunday services, some with additional ones.

St. Paul’s Episcopal church will have a traditional Christmas eve service, beginning with a carol sing, at 7 p.m.

At Grace Lutheran, Sunday is the fourth Sunday in Advent, and Christmas eve. At 10 a.m., the worship service will include the Lord’s Supper, and at 7 p.m., there will be a candlelight service. And at 10 a.m. Monday, Christmas day, there will be a worship service, again with the Lord’s supper.

At New Life Community church, the worship service will take place at the usual 10:30 a.m., and be followed by a potluck. Come and be blessed by the service, bring a dish to share, and be reminded of why we celebrate this day.

Merry Christmas to all, and best wishes for a great new year.

To contact Martha Williams, call 707-460-3000, or email .