A Christmas gift for the Lake Mills Community
Norm Johnson, you cheered me up and made my Christmas joyful. I’ll explain “how” later.
It’s Christmastime. A vastly different one from those we remember and now covet. Christmas should be a happy time, no matter the circumstances, but that’s much easier said than done. We’ve become accustomed to the cheer and celebration that comes with gathering and exchanging gifts and celebrating.
Too many of us feel that the virus has effectively cancelled Christmas this year. But, let’s look at this a little differently. We, in 2020, aren’t unique in facing calamity and worry? To put things in perspective, Mathew Chapter 2 reminds us of part of the Christmas story we often ignore. Joseph received word that Herod was out to kill the newborn Jesus, so he escaped to Egypt with the baby Jesus and Mary. Terrorism and intrigue were there to meet our Savior Jesus on his birth. We shouldn’t forget that. I’m sure some of the peace and joy surrounding Jesus birth were, even then, interrupted by fear and concern.
It’s a chore to remember that the unique and terrible challenges of 2020 don’t change what Christmas is all about. The “good news” of the New Testament is all about a gift. The gift from God the Father was his son Jesus whose life was sacrificed for our sins. That gift forever altered God’s relationship to man. Sometimes we just need some reminding about the “reason for the season.”
I received a wonderful reminder this week when I learned of the generosity coming from my friend Norm Johnson. He graduated from LMHS a couple years after me. The December 9th Graphic announced that Norm is creating a Vietnam Veterans Scholarship fund and will match our contributions “two to one.” His generous commitment has the potential to grow to $100,000. If we, the community, along with friends and alumni, contribute $50,000, the scholarship’s initial funding will be $150,000.
We give gifts just as God the Father gave us the gift of Jesus for our everlasting benefit. And Norm has chosen the perfect gift at the perfect time to give the community something to remind us of the real meaning of Christmas.
This challenge gives me the opportunity to express how exceedingly grateful I am for having attended both junior high and high school in Lake Mills – Class of 1964. We received an excellent education from a faculty that took their jobs seriously. I’ve asserted many times that those formative, “sensible” years in Lake Mills have a great deal to do with how I react to many of the issues we face today. My experiences there, and lessons learned, have helped me throughout my life.
My friend Norm Johnson gave the Lake Mills community a wonderful Christmas gift, and we can all participate in this great effort. I will demonstrate appreciation for my “hometown” and school, by personally contributing to the “Vietnam Veterans Scholarship.” Annually, I contribute to the college savings plans of my five grandchildren. I pledge to match that total for 2020. My check will be in the mail this week.
I’m feeling really good and joyful about this opportunity. It puts me in a wonderful Christmas spirit. Let’s help this deserving project reach and exceed its total goal of $150,000 in scholarship funds.
A blessed and joyful Christmas to you all.