What does Christmas mean to you? For the Heath family, Christmas is all about celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Our family also enjoys the rich tradition of gathering together on Christmas Eve for a great meal and fellowship, which now has grown to include nieces and nephews. Though our children are grown, we still enjoy exchanging gifts among family members and celebrating the rich traditions of the holiday season.
For many, the Christmas season brings back memories of attending church with family and friends, reading “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” before tucking children into bed, smelling warm pies baking in the oven and singing Christmas carols. Although every family has its own unique traditions, Christmas unites us all with a common sense of kindness, generosity and love.
The Christmas season is meant to be a time of joy and good cheer, however its true meaning can often get lost amidst the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Whether it’s shopping for the perfect present, baking a large feast for your loved ones or putting the last ornament on the tree, it’s easy to forget that Jesus is the real reason for the season.
The story of the birth of Jesus Christ set into motion a series of events that transformed the course of human history. More than 2,000 years ago, mankind was given the most precious gift of all in a lowly manger in the town of Bethlehem. Swaddled in cloth, Jesus reached down into a broken world by taking on human flesh and extending his hand of grace to a world marked by pain and suffering.
Jesus’ birth was God’s greatest gift to mankind and reminds us that miracles are possible everyday through God’s loving kindness. John 3: 16 says it best, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.” During the Christmas Season, we give gifts to each other as a reminder of God’s miraculous gift.
This year I encourage you to help strengthen the U.S. economy by purchasing American-made products while doing your holiday shopping. Every year, Americans rush to the stores to buy mass-produced products that are often manufactured in overseas factories by workers whose wages are not reinvested locally. This has little to no positive effect on our nation’s struggling economy. Instead of buying that high-definition television or DVD player with a "Made in China" stamp, would you consider supporting your local community’s mom and pop specialty store or purchasing a product made in the good ole’ U.S.A.?
Although the list is becoming shorter with each passing year, there are still several well-known American companies that are manufacturing goods and services in the United States. These include:
• Louisville Slugger
• Harley Davidson Motorcycles
• Benjamin Moore Paint
• Gibson Guitar Company
• F-Series Ford Pickup Trucks
• Steinway & Sons
• Yankee Candle Company
These are just a few examples of companies that are working to create jobs for Americans and encourage U.S. industry growth. Restoring our national economy back to its pre-recession levels must begin at home, and it starts by supporting the businesses in our own neighborhood. This Christmas, I challenge you to visit your local drug store or purchase gift certificates from places such as a local barber shop, salon, car wash or mechanic. Every little thing makes a difference and goes a long way towards rebuilding our local communities and keeping business in America.
From my family to yours, I would like to wish you a safe and Merry Christmas. May God continue to bless you and your family this holiday season!
Sen. Bill Heath serves as chairman of the Finance Committee. He represents the 31st Senate District, which consists of Haralson and Polk counties and portions of Bartow and Paulding counties. He may be reached at 404-656-3943 or by email at email@example.com.