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“We asked, ...; you said ...”

"We asked, ...; you said ..."

Several weeks prior to finishing each issue of Interpreter, we send a question to all readers for whom we have email addresses, asking them to respond with a short answer of 50-75 words. A select few are included here, edited for length as necessary. Find many more at Interpreter OnLine, www.interpretermagazine.org. We hope you will join the conversation.

We asked ...

"What will you do personally or as a family to keep Christ in Christmas?"

For this issue, you said ...

My church will serve Christmas dinner to our families, neighbors and the homeless who come to church on Christmas Day for lunch. We will distribute fliers inviting anyone to come. Santa will drop off presents for children who come to dinner, and perhaps some socks, hats, gloves and scarves for those in need.

Cindy Ayers, Central UMC, Hampton, Va.

I have a large collection of Nativity sets, and in the last few years, I have displayed only one or two of them during the season. I will use more this year, and since they come from many different countries, they will remind me of the connectedness of Christians everywhere and the gift from God to the whole world.

Arlene Dempster, St. Mark's UMC, San Diego

My wife and I have made it a tradition to attend the "Christmas is one language" celebration at First United Methodist Church in Gainesville, Ga., the first Sunday evening in Advent. This multicultural event celebrates diversity and emphasizes how much we have in common under the banner of Christianity.

R. Garry Glenn, McEver Road UMC, Oakwood, Ga.

We have purchased 500 "Keep Christ in Christmas" car magnets to distribute at the local shopping mall. The Saturday after Black Friday, we will have a booth in the mall with a life-size Nativity that looks just like the car magnet. A banner over the Nativity will say "Help Keep Christ in Christmas. Pick up free car magnet here!" We will also share fliers about our church's Advent and Christmas services and an ecumenical Advent service.

Paul Krekeler, McKownville UMC, Albany, N.Y.

Pray very often.

Charles Long, First UMC, Beebe, Ark.

I will only buy products and services in stores or online that promote and embrace Christmas.

Doug Lugar, Utica (Ohio) UMC

Since my 28-year-old son was a toddler, we have baked a birthday cake for Jesus and sung "Happy Birthday" to Jesus. When my son was 2, he asked why we did not have a birthday cake for Jesus. He and I baked one. We have had one ever since. It is still my favorite tradition.

Connie Manns, Etna Green (Ind.) UMC

As a family, my wife and I always have an Advent wreath and devotional, which we use each evening or as often as possible in preparation for Christmas. During the season, we also try to listen to music on CDs that help us to center our thoughts on a faith-filled celebration of the Savior's birth.

Gerard E. Mayers, Everittstown UMC, Pittstown, N.J.

Through my church, I coordinate volunteers for the county Salvation Army Red Kettle Drive. While the angel tree and Christmas food baskets are seasonal, the money raised in the Red Kettle Drive sets our county's annual relief budget. The volunteer effort eliminates the need for paid bell ringers and adds much-needed income to that budget. We ring from the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve. It keeps one grounded in what Christmas is all about.

Dani Muckleroy, First UMC, Red Oak, Texas

I just love to decorate my yard with Christmas lights because Christ is the light of the world. The focal point of my decorations is my lighted Nativity scene.

Phyllis Region, First UMC, Miami

To keep Christ in Christmas, none of the adults in our family exchange gifts.

We have all we need and can afford things we want.

Instead, we donate to various causes globally and locally to meet the needs of our neighbors who are not as fortunate.

We remind our son that Jesus invites us to give to the "least of these." He also donates to an organization of his choice, typically one that benefits children.

The Rev. Julie Wilson, Calvary/Centennial Memorial Cooperative Parish, Frederick, Md.