When Christmastime rolled around in my elementary school years, my younger sister Sheri and I would re-enact for family members the celebrated Nativity scene, portraying the weary Joseph and the very pregnant Mary, as they searched for a place to stay in Bethlehem.

The night before Christmas, we’d dress in our bathrobes and drape towels over our heads, to represent the clothing of the era. Starting our long journey in the kitchen, we’d slowly stroll into the living room, where the twinkling Christmas tree lights set the stage for the stable. There, in the faint light, we performed the drama for Mom, Dad and our older sister.

The babe (a doll that was previously tucked under the bathrobe) was wrapped in “swaddling” clothes (probably another bath towel) and placed in a cardboard box that had been lined with thick layers of shredded newspaper, to make a fairly realistic bed of hay. The drama usually ended with one of us getting the giggles, then a short round of applause from the “audience.”

Exit stage left.

Years later, when our young families would gather for Christmas Eve revelry, our kids took over performing the dramatic scenes.

However, with no “Mary” to be had among the male cousins in attendance, the play plot would take on the feel of an action-packed thriller. One year, Santa was forced to battle a group of evil and rebellious elves. Another year, his elves had to fend off a villain who had his mind set on ruining Christmas.

Nevertheless, the re- occurring theme over the years was always about the good of mankind and, no matter the plot or how twisted it became, good always prevailed in the end and Christmas would win, again.

Years have passed since our last family Christmas play was performed, and many more since that night in Bethlehem but very little has changed in the world. There are still villains wreaking havoc. The turmoil is different than say 20, 40, 100 or 2,000 years ago, but in all the chaos, mankind is still battling to find peace on Earth and goodwill toward men.

Merry Christmas!

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VanWinkle Ranch donated last week more than 850 pounds of hamburger to families served by HOPE of the Grand Valley.

The fifth-generation ranchers, Howard and Janie VanWinkle, provided the meat and Mesa County Cattlemen’s Association and Mountain Meat donated the processing, a news release said.

Learn more about Hope of the Grand Valley and its mission at hopegv.org.

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The Veterans Art Center, 307 S. 12th St., will be open Christmas Day for fun, food and a gift exchange.

Those who are planning to attend should register in advance so organizers will know how much food to prepare. If you are bringing a side dish or dessert, they need to know that as well.

All who do attend are asked bring a gift (handmade or under $20) for the gift exchange.

“We will be open in the morning if you want to come in early and spend the day. We will eat as soon as the food is all ready.”

Families and guests are welcome.

Call 462-3126 to pre-register or go to operationrevamp.org for information.

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For the fifth year in a row, Wienerschnitzel Express locations in the area will host the “No One Goes Hungry on Christmas” event.

From 11 a.m.–1 p.m. on Christmas Day, guests at the participating locations will receive two Wienerschnitzel hot dogs, French fries, a drink (hot cocoa, coffee or cold beverage) and a soft-serve cone. Santa and his helpers will hand out gifts to children.

“Along with a chance to show appreciation to our loyal guests, we want to make sure that those less fortunate are able to enjoy a hot meal on Christmas Day. The goal is to help bring some holiday joy to those who need it most; we don’t want anyone to be alone on Christmas!” said Wienerschnitzel franchisee Tobey Williams, in a news release.

The “No One Goes Hungry on Christmas” event will take place at Wienerschnitzel Express/Shell Convenience Store locations in Grand Junction at the First Street and Grand Avenue Shell Station, 30 and D roads Shell Station and Interstate 70 at Horizon Drive Shell Station; I-70 at Exit 75 Shell Station in Parachute; and the Montrose Travel Center Shell Station, 1440 North Townsend in Montrose.

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Cups Club is for those looking to meet new people, build friendships, enjoy the company of others, learn new skills, discover hobbies, and participate in fun activities.

The free program is open to all friends of HopeWest and meets at 2 p.m. Wednesdays at Artful Cup, 3090 N. 12th Street.

For reservations, transportation or information, call 257-2390.

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Do you have the cutest pet in town?

A pet food drive and photo contest, to benefit Roice-Hurst Humane Society, is taking place through Dec. 31 at The Benton Insurance Agency, 1525 N. First St.

“Our agency is committed to supporting the local pet population by collecting pet food, supplies and cleaning items during the winter months,” said agency owner John Benton in a GJSentinel.com online calendar post.

To enter the Cute Pet Photo Contest — and for a chance to win a $25 gift card — take a photo of your pet and post it to the page at facebook.com/RBFarmersInsuranceGJ.

Then, gather donations of pet food and supplies and drop them off at the agency from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The most-needed donations are wet or dry dog food, pet treats, kitty litter, blankets and bedding, toys and leashes, dish soap and bleach.

Call agent Steven Coates at 242-5200 or email steven.rbenton@farmersagency.com for information.

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Submit Your Town and community news items by email to communitynews@gjsentinel.com, by fax at 244-8578, or by mail to 734 S. Seventh St., Grand Junction, CO, 81501. Online calendar items can be uploaded at GJSentinel.com/calendar.

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