Take a deep breath and remember the real reason for Christmas

Bea L. Hines

We have barely finished the leftovers from Thanksgiving, and here we are getting ready for the big day — Christmas.

Now is a good time to pause and remember why we celebrate Christmas. You say you don’t have time, too many preparations for Christmas Day? Calm down, take a deep breath and think about why we celebrate this day.

I think about Christmas and why Jesus came here, when He could have remained in heaven with the Father. And I am ever more thankful that He came. His coming to earth shows me He suffered everyday things, just like you and I. But His coming also tells us that we can make this journey of life a wonderful one.

This doesn’t mean that there won’t be pain and trials. To believers, it simply means that we are not alone in anything we go through. When I am facing obstacles in my life that seem too hard to overcome, I overcome them with peace and joy intact.

Having joy doesn’t mean that I never experience sadness and disappointment. I do. What it means is that through prayer and meditation on Jesus and the Word of God, I am kept in perfect peace through the sadness and disappointment that we all experience.

As a mother, I have experienced the deepest sadness any mother can face — the loss of a child. But what a blessing it was to know Jesus, who through my tears and sadness, still kept me in His perfect peace. His comfort — through many of you — that has sustained me to this day.

As a child of God, I know that while this is a festive time of the year, it can be a depressing time for many. So, I am simply reaching out to those who just might have feelings of depression and hopelessness.

I want you to know the real reason for this season is Jesus. He came to bring hope and joy to the world. While there doesn’t seem to be much hope or joy around these days, I am here to tell you there is no shortage of either. You just have to seek it with your whole heart.

Remember, there is nothing that you go through, no matter how bad, that Jesus hasn’t experienced. Even when you walk through your deepest valleys, have faith to know that He is walking beside you.

After all, it is why He came — to heal broken spirits and to bring joy. Jesus’ joy doesn’t come wrapped in colorful paper tied with bright ribbons.

When you receive the wonderful gift Jesus brought, you will know it because it will change your life. It will give you the kind of joy and peace that surpasses all understanding.

Israeli spacecraft director to speak at Shul

Alex Friedman, director of Beresheet, the first Israeli mission to land on the moon, will be the keynote speaker at the 13th International Torah and Science Conference, Dec. 12-15, at The Shul in Surfside, 9540 Collins Ave. The topic of his lecture: “From Small Dream to Brilliant Reality: A Short History of the Israel Space Program.” Friedman will be joined by an international group of scientists and religious thinkers at the conference.

The Beresheet spacecraft, launched Feb. 22, 2019, crash landed on the moon on April 11, 2019. It was the first privately funded spacecraft to attempt a moon landing.

The conference is free and open to the public. Conference schedule and more details are available at: www.TorahScienceConference.org or at www.CYSCollege.org.

Overtown holiday concert

The Community Arts Program (CAP) will present its Overtown Holiday Spectacular at 4 p.m. Dec. 15 at the Historic St. Agnes Episcopal Church, 1750 NW Third Ave. in Overtown. The event will feature children and youth from throughout Miami-Dade County.

The Community Arts Program is an after-school Conservatory for the Arts program that includes strings ensembles, a jazz band and an All-Star Jazz Ensemble.

The free family event will include a Christmas Carol sing-along with mistress of ceremonies, Tracy Fields, from WLRN, the Miami affiliate of National Public Radio.

Handel’s ‘Messiah’ to be performed at Florida Memorial University

The Community Mass Choir and Orchestra will perform Handel’s “Messiah” at 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, at Florida Memorial University’s Lou Rawls Center, 15800 NW 42nd Ave. in Miami Gardens.

The annual free concert hosted by The Universal Truth Center for Better Living will be from 7 to 9 p.m.on Dec. 20 at the church, 21310 NW 37th Ave. in Miami Gardens.

The performers will include the Universal Truth Center”s Truth Ensemble, led by Minister of Music Kevin Rutledge; the UTC Youth Choir directed by Mary Smith-York; the UTC Steppers, directed by Brenda Pascal; and soloist Floyd Smith.

The concert is free, but offerings are encouraged.

In the Episcopal Church, all baptized persons may receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion. In keeping with that, Trinity Cathedral will have a special First Communion service for newly baptized children on Dec. 15 at the church, 464 NE 16th St. The service will celebrate the children’s deeper understanding of the Eucharist.

For more information and to register a child for his/her First Communion, contact Mother Busto at: merecdesbusto@bellsouth.net or call the church office at: 305-456-8851.

Miami Shores holiday concert

The Performer’s Music Institute will present a “Students of Voice” recital at 7 p.m. on Dec. 14 at Miami Shores Community Church (United Church of Christ), 9823 NE Fourth Ave.

The program will include vocal selections from opera, musical theater, art songs, populr music and scenes from Dellini’s “Norma” and Mozart’s “Die Zauberflote(cq), (The Magic Flute).

The performers are: Rosie Herrera, lyric-coloratura soprano; Maryuris Maldonado, soprano; Jennifer Maer, mezzo-soprano; Sasha Portocarrero, soprano; Melissa Ruiz, soprano, and Jose Vazquez, baritone. Pianists Gregory Szeto and Jared Peroune will accompany.

Admission is free and the community is invited to encourage the young singers.

Holiday open house

The community is invited to the Holiday Open House sponsored by Sant La Haitian Neighborhood Center, from noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 13.

The free event will be at the center, 13390 W. Dixie Hwy in North Miami. If you go, please RSVP by calling 305-573-4871 or email kenta@sntia.org.