From the Editor – December 2019

It’s that time of year: the holiday season is in full swing and traditions abound. Christmas trees are now fully decorated and dripping in glitter and lights. Stockings have been hung, and pantries, cupboards and freezers are stocked for holiday meals, parties and batches of baked goods. 

It’s truly a magical time of year. 

The word I always associate with December is hope. There is so much hope surrounding the holidays, when everything has a certain shine, literal or otherwise. It’s as if life is viewed through poinsettia-colored glasses, and humanity comes together to share in each other’s celebrations and also each other’s trials. We reach out, extend hands and sit closer together whether it’s in a church pew or at a dinner table. The year is closing, and we feel the finality of that statement and the expectation of another year around the corner, coming fast and hard but still not yet here, still waiting in the wings. 

As we close out 2019, we explore this idea of hope from many angles. Jonathan Scott looks at the concept of faith in our later years, when many people’s faith transforms as perspective shifts with the natural transitions of life (p. 36). Crissy Neville takes us into the workshop of toymaker Jim Annis of Sanford, who crafts and donates handmade toys for Christmas joy (p. 28) and takes us to family-owned Christmas tree farms here in North Carolina, where families can choose their own Blue Ice, Norway Spruce or even a Fraser Fir (p. 42). We also explore hope and healing in our final piece on the opioid crisis, understanding what to do next as we combat this epidemic (p. 48). 

Ray Linville takes us Drivin’ For Lunch at Mrs. Lacy’s Magnolia House in Sanford (p. 20), which is now on my immediate to-do list, and which will no doubt include a breaking of my no-gluten policy. If ever there was a hopeful way to end the year, this just might be it. 

Finally, all of us here in the ONC cottage extend our thanks for you, our readers. Your comments, suggestions, feedback and support have made 2019 a record year. We’ve tackled subjects at your request that ended up changing our own perspectives, and as we all know, changing perspectives changes lives. We appreciate every letter, phone call, email, social media post and comment made in coffee shops, over lunches and hustling across parking lots as we’ve made our way throughout our beloved communities. 

My favorite quote on hope is from Barbara Kingsolver who wrote, 

“The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.” 

If there is a tradition to continue and carry forward into our next year, let hopefulness be it.