I really love Christmas. I mean I love it because it's Christ's birthday and my faith is affirmed by that knowledge. But I also love Christmas because there's just something special about candles and soft flickering lights and holly and pine boughs. It's as much a feeling as anything - the same relaxing ambiance I always feel when I gaze up at the sky on a dark night and see the stars twinkling. There is peace in that, and peace is something we should all be willing to strive for.
I remind myself often during the days and weeks preceding the YWCA Holiday Showcase that the outcome of all this scurry and flurry will be yet another year we don't have to obsess about financing the YWCA Homeless Shelter for women and children. That peace, which is the hallmark of the Christmas season, will snuggle in around us because once again the community will reach out, embrace our mission and help assure that no mother and child will ever find a "no room at the inn" notice taped on the front window as long as the YWCA exists.
This will be my eighth Holiday Showcase and the eighth Christmas I have spent at the YWCA. Every year has been exceptional and notable. Some of the architects of this beautiful event have been with us since the beginning. And every year new talent steps up to design and re-imagine Christmas for the rest of us. Among our supporters I see a similar trend: some people come back year after year, but every year another new group "discovers" the Showcase for the first time. So often these newcomers vow to reserve a place in their schedule for next year. On the other hand, there are still many in our community who have missed the Holiday Showcase altogether, despite posters and advertising and the excitement of friends awaiting the event.
As long as there is Christmas, there will be opportunities for those who love to shop, love to find a great deal and love to bestow caring through the gifts they give. There are few places left where one can nurture those loves while giving themselves a gift as well. That gift is the visual delight of softly flickering lights, uniquely lovely decor and the perfect tree to bring home and enjoy for years to come. Does it matter to you that the investment you make in yourself or to please the senses of someone you love also strengthens our community? The goal-focused programs you are supporting through attendance and investment in the YWCA Holiday Showcase goes directly to client services - rigorous case management, workplace preparation and education, and life skill instruction. It is the framework around which the personal satisfaction of lifelong employment leading to self-sufficiency can grow. It is the power of a second chance. It is a lesson passed down from mother to child. Ultimately, it is the only proven cure for homelessness.
Yes, I have always loved Christmas. In the last eight years the faith and peace that has always been so important to me has been enhanced with a belief in the basic goodness of human-kind that just can't be tamped down by a rotten economy. Christmas has become synonymous with hope as well. Hope for a better future. Hope for success among those needing a second chance, and hope for the little ones who will be the beneficiaries of a world without homelessness.
Your support of the Frosty and Friends Holiday Showcase, which is an event that will delight your senses, also helps provide financial certainty for programs at the YWCA.
I urge you to begin your holiday shopping with Frosty and Friends beginning at 5 p.m. Friday at the premier opening. Follow up with activities throughout the weekend. If you would like to reserve a ticket for the Pasta Bar on Saturday just prior to the live auction or for Sweets & Style with Frosty on Sunday afternoon, please call the YWCA at 573-3931. You need not have a ticket to participate in the live auction Saturday night.
Ann Davidson is director of the Fort Dodge YWCA.