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OPINION PAGE - DECEMBER 15, 1999 - HOMER, GA

Editorial
The Banks County News
December 15, 1999

Candidates needed for planning commission
Help Wanted: Banks County residents needed who are willing to meet once a month, often for several hours, to tell their neighbors what they can or can't do with their property. They may be met with controversy and abuse from disgruntled citizens. They may be bombarded with phone calls and take time out of their lives to visit property before making a decision. Candidates don't need to apply for the fame or fortune this position will bring.
Serving on a county planning commission is one of the toughest things a person can volunteer to do. Banks County has been fortunate to have many quality people to serve over the years. But several terms on the planning commission have expired or will soon. This will leave the board of commissioners scrambling to fill the posts. The current members are being encouraged to apply, along with others who are interested in serving.
Unfortunately, it is not a highly coveted position. Those who serve do it out of a love of their community and a desire to see it prepared to meet the needs of the future.
Those wishing to apply are asked to send a letter to the board of commissioners. We encourage the BOC to review them carefully and fill these posts with people who are dedicated and knowledgeable of what is necessary to serve.

Column
By Angela Gary
The Banks County News
December 15, 1999

It shouldn't be hard to find the reason we celebrate this season
I was an angel once. As hard as my co-workers may find that to believe, I was an official angel with the wings and halo.
My angel days came at Nicholson Baptist Church when I was much younger. We did the traditional Christmas play every year with the manger scene, the wise men and the shepherds. The story never changed, but the emotion and spirit remained high each year.
The hymns never changed either, but their words still move me in ways that no other songs can. "Away in a Manger," "Silent Night" and "Joy to the World" have long been my favorites and I enjoy hearing them throughout the Christmas season. They always bring a sparkle to my eye and a smile to my face.
Another early Christmas memory is of going out into the woods behind our house with my sister and daddy to find the perfect tree for our living room. The trees may have sometimes been kind of sad-looking ­ with dents in all of the wrong places and a funny shape ­ but they were special to us. We put all of our traditional ornaments on the tree, including the cardboard oatmeal cookie that I made in elementary school and the reindeer Amanda made. We also left out a piece of Mama's wonderful chocolate pie for Santa.
My early Christmas memories are similar to those of many people in our area­going to church Christmas programs on the birth of Jesus and enjoying family traditions. That is what the season is all about. It's not about shopping and Santa and presents. All of that is fun, but it is not what the holiday is about.
For all of those people who say they are not in the "spirit," I have one bit of advice. Instead of worrying about all of the shopping that you have to do, pull out your Bible and read the story of the birth of Christ. If you read this passage and do not feel the spirit of this season, something is definitely wrong.
"She (Mary) shall bring forth a son, and thou shall call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21) This gives us hope and it gives us faith.
Something else I enjoy during this holiday season is pulling out my copy of "The Charlie Brown Christmas Special." It was written three decades ago but it is still pertinent today. Charlie Brown is one of those people who doesn't have the "Christmas spirit." He complains about the commercialism and the lack of Christmas cards in his mailbox. Charlie is lost and he needs help.
All it takes is for Linus to read from the Bible to open Charlie Brown's eyes and those of his friends. They realize how lost they have been and what the true meaning of Christmas is all about. It may only be a cartoon but it is filled with what this celebration is all about.
As this holiday season approaches, please remember what we are really celebrating. It is wonderful to give presents, but it is even more wonderful to share the story of the birth of Jesus. Go to those Christmas plays, read the Bible (both alone and aloud to your children) and enjoy what it is all about.
Not many days go by that I don't thank God for my life and my health. It may be first thing in the morning, it may be the last thing at night or it might be while I am driving down the road. I don't even have to have my head bowed or my eyes closed. I just thank God for my health and what I have.
A comment made by the guest speaker at a Christmas dinner last week reaffirmed this to me. He said, "Every day is a gift from God." I shook my head agreeing that this really is the greatest gift of all. I went home and repeated it to my sister. I decided to make it my motto. I would start each day saying this and thanking God for another day. While it is something that I already knew and lived by, I appreciated the reminder.
This holiday season, please remember what we are celebrating and offer thanks for what you have. Instead of getting caught up in the hustle and bustle, take time to appreciate what we are really celebrating.
Angela Gary is editor of The Banks County News and associate editor of The Jackson Herald.


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