Daily Reflections From My Window

December 5, 2021 Sunday Advent Day 5: It’s a Wonderful Life


“You’ve been given a great gift, George, a chance to see what the world would be like without you.”

Clarence the Angel to George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life”

It wouldn’t be the Christmas Season without watching “It’s a Wonderful Life”. It’s one of my favorites. What a great reminder of how even though our lives may seem mundane and unimportant, how we’re all part of something bigger. George Bailey gets the unexpected gift of seeing how, if he hadn’t been born his whole town would be different. We may not make a huge difference like that, but it always makes me wonder and want to do better.

Living in a small town is a gift. Friday night, Jay and I went to his annual (which didn’t happen last year due to Covid) Bar Association Holiday Party. It’s such a nice event and Robin Hagins, does such a nice job putting it together with her committee each year. She meets everyone at the door with a smile and makes even spouses of the lawyers feel welcome. Her own son, Connor, is the founder of “Cuddles for Kids” which distributes stuffed toys to kids in hospitals and now works for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He’s a year or two younger than Jack, and started CFK when just a middle schooler. Talk about making a difference. Robin is a huge supporter of H. Wonder Coffee and Records and I can almost be sure I’ll run into her there too.

At the Bar Association event, I heard such good things about the shop. One judge said ” I never thought I’d live to see the day where a quirky little coffee shop would open in Johnstown where the barista really knew how to make coffee and helped you take a breath and not worry about time. It’s my kids favorite place to go when they come home for a visit and mine too.” We heard things like that again and again. It IS quirky and Madison knows her way around coffee and they are experts at curating their merch. Right now they have vintage records bundled with coffee and tied with raffia as gifts. I took a photo but I can’t find it. I’ll take one today. Their record guy brought in a complete vintage record player with speakers and if you’d like to hear records the way they were meant to be heard, you can find it there. It would make such a great gift bundled with some albums and coffee. Again, I thought I took a picture!

While I was in town, I walked around the Christmas Market. The tree isn’t lit that early in the day but it is still playing music and the little Christmas Village is up and ready. It was fun to walk around and I bought a few gifts from local vendors. I’ll tell you from whom later. Look at the detail on this gingerbread house roof house made by Bethany Carney and on display at H. Wonder. She’s really amazing and I hope you have seen it. And the windows on this one. After church today, I’m going to walk around Ligonier and check out the gingerbread houses on display there. She also has one at G Squared Gallery. She’s so talented and her interest all began with a simple church tradition of making gingerbread houses out of graham crackers and icing. Who knew?

Another wonderful part of living in a small town is the ability to get up close to things. These houses in the park are provided by local businesses each year and it’s so wonderful to see the kids running from one to the other to look inside and hear their laughter and excitement as they do. And the tree brings such joy. Santa’s sleigh was there since I heard a rumor that he and Cindy Lou Who were to make an appearance later in the day.

Back home I went to do a few things in “The Factory” and get dinner ready. I wanted to make a spicy carrot soup and needed to roast the vegetables first. It sounded so good, but since I can’t taste or smell and it has no real texture, I can’t really tell you if it was anything I’d make again. Jay said it was good. With a nice salad, we were full. While I was gone, Jay put up a clock and it really looks great!

Then back to town we went to see the “Festival of the Nativity” at the First Presbyterian Church. Over 100 Nativity Sets on loan from local folks are on display. Along with concerts by local groups, it’s a wonderful event. We wanted to hear our “Piano for Pleasure” teacher Laura Williamson perform and she was fantastic. Today is the last day and I think the choirs start at 6:30 and end with a combined choir that is something to hear. You can see the schedule on the church’s FB page. It was all started by one woman named Lois Siegel, her love of the Nativity, and her desire to bring Christ back into Christmas. Now in its 37th year, she’s made such a difference. The Nativities come in all sizes, shapes and renditions. There are too many for me to post. You have to see for yourself.

Now to our Nativity. Today we see the shepherd. I think he and the sheep were my favorites. Mom clothed him on burlap and velvet and of course hair, and the sheep got fluffy cotton coats to keep them warm. He’s beautiful.

And our fabric calendar. Another Angel appears.

And the church’s. Living in a small town is the right place for us. We support our neighbor’s and friends and their endeavors and it’s a place where we all support each other. Without this, we couldn’t have all of the great programs and opportunities and we’re up close and know one another. That’s what it’s about. Knowing your neighbors. Walking through the Nativity displays, I recognized so many names of those who contributed their sets. I frequent the businesses of those who built the little houses in the park. When I go to Ligonier today, it will be the same. I know some of the business owners and shoppers. It’s a Wonderful Life to be part of two such vibrant communities where each person matters. As Jay says, we all can’t be performers, some of us have to be supporters. And he’s right. I hope to see you today out and about at one of these amazing places. There is so much going on!

Not here though-another day of peaceful grazing.

In the meantime, do something you’ve never done before. Find your passion and explore it. Contribute your time and talent to your community..Every single day is a gift. It’s a Wonderful Life. I’m off to tend my passion.

Have a blessed day!