Holiday steeped in tradition

Published 10:28 pm Saturday, December 19, 2009

Dr. Don Wright, senior pastor of Columbiana United Methodist Church (CUMC), has been a minister his entire adult life.

At 19, he led three churches in the Florence area.

“I would preach at two churches in the morning and one at night,” said Dr. Don, as he is called.

By his side for 33 years has been his wife, Myra, an incredible asset to every church he has served.

The Wrights have three children, Ashley, Brooke and Colin. Christmas has always had special meaning for the Wrights. Every Christmas Eve, the family has served communion to the church.

“This tradition has always been so important to our family, to serve as a family to our church family,” said Dr. Don.

The Wrights will serve communion at CUMC Dec. 24 from 5:30–6:45 p.m. The event is open to all. Christmas Day is set aside just for their family.

Thanksgiving afternoon the Wrights decorate their home for Christmas, filled with handmade decorations by Myra: felt stockings, the first two made in the weeks after their marriage on Dec. 18, 1976; Santa placemats on the kitchen table; crochet ornaments made when Dr. Don was in seminary; and an exquisite advent banner.

Myra was taught sewing by her grandmother and mother. Her sewing skills have created beautiful heirlooms for her family that are displayed year after year.

“I won’t let her change a thing,” said Brooke. “Everything has meaning and is special to us.”

Every room in their home has a Christmas tree.

Many of the decorations have been given to them over the years from church members or made by Myra’s talented hands. Their home is filled with candles and greenery, nativities, Santa’s, but most of all the love of family.

After communion at church, the Wrights come home to their Christmas family dinner. Colin will read “Twas the Night before Christmas,” a tradition over the years.

Then Colin will set the stockings under the Christmas tree. When the children were young, milk and cookies were left for Santa and his reindeer, even putting reindeer food in their front yard in welcome.

“Christmas morning is super traditional,” said Brooke. “We always divide up the presents and open them one at a time. No one can open their next present until the one before is finished. We always video the morning. I love to look back and watch the videos.”

“Christmas afternoon we play,” said Myra. “We do not cook, we do not work, and we stay home and play.”

“Christmas is a time for family, a day to celebrate the birth of our Savior and our love for each other,” said Dr. Don.

Columnist Phoebe Robinson can be reached by e–mail at