Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Holidays in Highlands: A spirit of Warmth and Cheer

There is nothing like the Holidays in Highlands to lift a winter weary spirit. Just as we celebrate all year round, the holiday season in Highlands is a merry extravaganza. We begin with the Borough Tree Lighting where children meet Santa and Mrs. Claus to make their Christmas requests. Next we attend the Highlands Senior Citizen Club luncheon where stocking stuffers and games are abundant.

The Historical Society Holiday dinner is filled with carol singing, door prizes and the awarding of the coveted Golden Clam Award. And of course we cannot forget Breakfast with Santa at the Community Center or the Holiday Helpers activity night for kids. But the climax of the Christmas Season is always the holiday church services where the reason for the season is remembered and proclaimed to all.

This year I am very excited about an outdoor presentation and early services at the New Life Christian Church on Bay Avenue, and of course, the Choir Concert and later mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church at Route 36 and Miller Street.

The Holiday Season in Highlands also includes the Hanuka celebration of lights. The Menorah is lit at Borough Hall as a symbol. But a better reminder is our own Twin Lights historic landmark which might make us think of the Hanuka story all year long. Just as the lantern remained lighted for that miraculous week, so the Highlands Twin Lights remain lighted for us, a beacon to new arrivals illuminating who we are and igniting our faith in what is to come.

Highlands truly embodies the holiday spirit. We live it all year round. Whenever there is sickness or tragedy in a family, word spreads like wildfire and gifts and fund raisers abound to help a family cope. When Highlands folks achieve great accomplishments, word spreads just as quickly. We congratulate them with public signs, and personal greetings in the streets. We are a true community family. Living here warms the heart.

Our volunteer Fire Department has a huge membership roster, and our volunteer First Aid Squad is growing by leaps and bounds. These groups are examples of the Highlands spirit of giving. But nothing illustrates our spirit better than our actions in 2001 during the terrorist attack in Manhattan. Tears come to the eye just thinking about the many people who lined the streets, one to a car, willing and ready to take survivors home to their families. What a sacrifice for people who had families of their own here in Highlands who were distraught. Some drivers traveled interstate to drive as many as three or four different people to distant locations.

When thinking of the giving holiday spirit this season, think like the people of Highlands. I am proud to be part of Highlands Borough. The world should strive to be more like we are.

Happy Holidays to all !