This holiday season was the first time since arriving in Sedona (1995) that I felt the presence of true community. This sense of being a part of a caring, sharing community began at Thanksgiving dinner at the Elks where I dined with my friends, patients, neighbors, politicians, community service providers, business people and their employees — over 1,000 of our 11,000+ residents (10%) shared a dinner of Giving Thanks.
At Christmas, Sedona’s holiday love fest became even more palpable. Every place I turned I was invited to a community dinner with “no strings attached.” I wasn’t asked what dish I planned to bring. I wasn’t expected to pay, pray or stay the evening. I was only expected to be there with all the others who were invited. Hundreds of smiling faces greeted friends and neighbors, people who often silently passed each other in stores and along the streets of Sedona.
Who were we and where were we invited to come? We were all religions at the ecumenical Christmas morning breakfast at the Jewish Community of Sedona. We were all ages, from many places merged into one at the Sedona Community Center Christmas lunch. We were side by side with visitors, business people, many of Sedona’s public servants and each other at the joyous Christmas dinner prepared by the Coffee Pot Restaurant family.
Some were there for the comfort of being with “family.” Some wanted to leave their “holiday blues” at home for a few hours. Everybody looked forward to the delicious food. For all of these gifts, we thank our hosts, those who cooked for us, served us, laughed with us, made special gifts for our tables… loved our community. Next season – and all the days between — I hope that the sense of community continues to grow in the hearts and deeds of us all. Happy New Year, Sedona!