Around Kent by Ann Kardos

By Ann Kardos Published:

If the Mayan calendar is correct, this will be the last newspaper we print. I will try to make sure that this final column is a good one!

On the hopeful side, and if the sun does rise tomorrow …

Logos Bookstore will be hosting local author Jenny Shanahan from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday. Illustrator Lauren Arsena will be joining Jenny at the signing. They will be signing Jenny's new book, "Lost and Found: Jesus the Greatest Treasure," which is a children's book about the three Magi in search of baby Jesus.

As the Magi journey to find Jesus, the kings will travel in your house for children to find. Children are reminded to think of Jesus as they look for the new places the kings are in their travels. The journey ends on Epiphany (Jan. 6) when the Magi reach baby Jesus.

Jenny Shanahan, a resident of Kent, has been married to her husband, Mike, for almost 10 years. They have three wonderful children. She has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a reading endorsement from the Franciscan University of Steubenville and a master's degree from Kent State University in curriculum and instruction. She taught kindergarten in Garrettsville for four years before staying home with her children.

Lauren Arsena is studying visual communication design at Kent State University.

Logos Bookstore is located at 976 W. Main St. in Kent. You can reach the store by phone at 330-673-6099.

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Congratulations to Main Street Kent and all the businesses downtown. Kent is looking festive and busy. It is just delightful to see all the activity.

I love to see all the busy shops. Restaurants, both old and new, are full and people are having fun. The new lights are lovely. Also, the Santa Claus visit was fantastic! How kind of the weather to cooperate so nicely, too.

People are really enjoying Kent, and that warms my heart.

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Honestly, I must admit that it is difficult to write about things in Kent this month without thinking back on the events in our nation over the last couple of months. Sisters & Brothers, it has been a gut-wrenching season. The election season was the most stressful and angry one that I could ever have imagined. People were irritable. They were divided into sides. No "side" was blameless.

Superstorm Sandy devastated the Eastern Seaboard. People are still reeling from that.

Unrest in the Middle East affected our peace and caused great worry in our minds.

Then, there is this looming anxiety that the world might end on Dec. 21 … hang on, that's today!

Then, on top of that, our hearts are absolutely shattered by the news from a town, about Kent's size, in Connecticut: a town whose children and teachers were the victims of unspeakable horror. To even try to type about it fills my eyes with tears.

All of it … all of the grief, anxiety, worry, anger, fear, sadness … and then we are expected to have a holly, jolly Christmas? Not likely!

Perhaps, though, that is why Christmas is celebrated.

By "celebrate" I don't mean "to throw a careless, boisterous, mind-numbing party." I do mean "celebrate" as in "to honor and commemorate an event with solemnity and thought, and, repeatedly, with purpose." The Bible recounts that on the night Jesus was born angels filled the sky, visibly. They shouted in the most beautiful voices, "Peace on Earth! Good will to men!" That is what Jesus was born to do. This world is a broken place. Left to our own devices, we people fail. Jesus was born and was called Emmanuel, which means "God with us," not "God far away and totally disappointed in us."

So, that's the hard-core Christian reason for celebrating. Let's say that you are not really "into Christianity." Please keep enjoying Christmas. This is the time when all of us should get together. The very last thing I want to do is talk about a "war on Christmas."

For pity's sake, if someone wants it to be a solemn, religious event, then that's fine. If someone else wants to just have fun with giving gifts, singing songs, helping others, decorating like crazy, and spending time -- on purpose -- with friends and family, that is wonderful. Whether you're a Christian or a "secular humanist who has an inexplicable love for Christmas" as one of my dear friends described himself, then make this an extra special time this year. In light of the somber tone that our grieving nation has right now, make a special effort to "be excellent to each other."

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Let me sidestep for a moment to say, no matter what else, please help your children feel happy and safe this Christmas. Be holly & jolly for them, if the Sandy Hook event has them terrified. You need to be brave for them.

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In case the Mayans were right, and today is it, let me just say that I have enjoyed my last few years writing this monthly column.

You all have been sweet and kind to me. I certainly appreciate that!

May you have peace, and have it abundantly.

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For Kent news, contact Ann Kardos at 330-931-9420 or ann@kentlogos.com.

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  • By "celebrate" I don't mean "to throw a careless, boisterous, mind-numbing party." I do mean "celebrate" as in "to honor and commemorate an event with solemnity and thought, and, repeatedly, with purpose." - Beautifully written. I am going to make a renewed effort to live in this manner. Thank you for sharing this.