South Holland offers opportunities to celebrate reason for the season

2012-12-24T00:00:00Z South Holland offers opportunities to celebrate reason for the seasonMary Ann Thornton Times Columnist nwitimes.com
December 24, 2012 12:00 am  • 

The village of South Holland ushers in the holiday season with traditional ceremonies, inspirational theater performances and spirited concerts. The true reason for the season permeates the community in celebration of God’s special gift to us.

Earlier this month, nearly 160 families joined Village President Don De Graff, Village Clerk Sallie Penman and trustees Larry DeYoung, Cindy Doorn and Andrew Johnson for the ceremonial lighting of the village Christmas tree at the South Holland Community Center. As is tradition, Santa Claus joined in the festivities of the evening, delighting the hearts of young children with a special gift and pictures.

River Oaks Community Church brought live theater to their sanctuary with the presentation of “Another Christmas Carol,” written by Camille O’Quin, wife of the church pastor Troy O’Quin. This modern day remake of a holiday classic is the story of Evelyn Scrooge, a middle-aged business owner who is greedy, stingy and lacks empathy for the hardships of mankind. She is often unkind and unsympathetic to the struggles of her employee Bobbie Cratchit, a hard-working single mom struggling to raise three children, including Little Tabitha who is afflicted by a serious medical condition.

In River Oaks’ remake of “A Christmas Carol,” Evelyn Scrooge encounters three angels representing Christmas past, present and future. Throughout these experiences, Scrooge encounters the love of God and his selfless gift of Jesus Christ, ultimately leading Scrooge through a redemptive transformation of her character and spirit. Her life is changed forever, as she surrenders her life to Christ.

“Another Christmas Carol” is intended to deliver a special message, said Troy O’Quin. “All of us are in need of a savior and if God can love and forgive Scrooge, then anyone can be forgiven by the tremendous love of God,” he said. Nearly 500 people attended the play, held Dec. 14 and 15.

Christ Community Church also delivered a powerful message of the true meaning of the holiday season through a musical stage play titled, “Take Her to the King.” The performance took place Dec. 14 by church pastor, Carl King Sr.

South Holland, known as a “community of churches” in light of the 30-plus diverse church organizations and ministries, was not short on opportunities for residents and visitors to enjoy their favorite Christmas hymns and songs of joy and devotion. Pews were filled this month at First Reformed Church, Covenant United Church of God, First Christian Reformed Church and others as melodies of the season filled the sanctuaries.

Last week, I overheard a South Holland resident ask where she might go to hear the word of God on Christmas morning. With this, I thought it would be appropriate to offer a few suggestions. Many of the reformed churches host Christmas morning services. First Reformed Church, 15924 South Park Ave., will host a Christmas Eve service beginning at 11 p.m., featuring their incredible bell and chancel choirs. The candle lighting service is Christmas Day.

The local Catholic churches, St. Jude the Apostle, 880 E. 154th St., and Holy Ghost, 700 E. 170th St., offer midnight Mass and Christmas Day services. A Kwanzaa service is scheduled for 7 p.m. Dec. 27 at Covenant United Church of Christ, 1130 E. 154th St.

However you celebrate Christmas, remember the true reason for the season. Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.

The opinions are solely those of the writer. Mary Ann Thornton is communications manager for the village of South Holland. She can be reached at mat39@comcast.net.

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