On A Christmas Mission

It’s the time of year when many of us wonder how we can give of ourselves to the less fortunate.

There’s always plenty of opportunities at Redding’s Good News Rescue Mission . The mission is currently packed with some 160 men, women and children bedding down at the main facility and its House of Hope branch, according to Micoa Furr, guest services manager.

Those who would like to volunteer at the mission (2842 S. Market St.) should visit the administration building and fill out a volunteer pamphlet. Once completed, it’s an easy matter of scheduling yourself for hour blocks of time for duties like working in food services, sorting clothes, reading to children and many other duties.

Food donations (canned items work well) can be taken directly to the mission, or a person can even use a credit card to donate money online (link above).

The mission held its big Christmas celebration last week, but kitchen coordinator Barry Anderson does have a special dinner planned for 7 p.m. on Christmas Day.

The holidays bring significant attention to the mission, People of Progress and other community service programs, but it’s important to remember these organizations in a month from now and, indeed, throughout the year.

For more information, call 242-5920.

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On a similar kind of Christmas mission this year was Bob Dylan with his album, "Christmas in the Heart."

Upon hearing that Dylan was releasing a Christmas album, I think most folks were a bit bewildered. It’s not like rock/songwriting icon has the first voice you’d pick in terms of Christmas crooning.

Most Dylan fans (myself included) were left thinking, "OK, what’s with this? Where’s the joke or riddle?"

But it’s probably not much more than this: All the royalties from the album’s sales are being donated to the organization Feeding America, which will be providing meals to more than 1.4 million people in need during this year’s holiday season.

Once I heard that news, I downloaded the album on iTunes. And here’s a genuine surprise: This is a sincere, nostalgic, sweet Christmas album where Bob’s voice sounds gravelly nice. (His line "Some people tell me I got the blood of the land in my voice" from the recent tune "I Feel a Change Comin’ On" is a pretty good self analysis. In concert, I’ve had friends tell me they couldn’t understand a single word he sung.)

One other comment I have about the Dylan Christmas album: When your last three albums are packed with as many good tunes as "Love and Theft," "Modern Times" and "Together Through Life," you can pretty much make whatever album you want.

Listen to "Mississippi," "High Water," "Summer Days" or pretty much anything off the amazing "Love and Theft." Listen to "Thunder on the Mountain" off "Modern Times." I’ve listened to "It’s All Good" off "Together Through Life" about 5,000 times.

I’m not too sure about this Dylan Christmas party, however (video below). It "Must Be Santa," or what happens to Santa when he comes to Bob’s house.

Enjoy…

Avatar
is a journalist who focuses on arts, entertainment, music and the outdoors. He is a songwriter and leader of the Jim Dyar Band. He lives in Redding and can be reached at jimd.anewscafe@gmail.com
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1 Response

  1. Avatar Sean says:

    Nice one, Jim. I would add "Time Out Of Mind" to your list of Dylan's great recent albums. The song "Not Dark Yet" almost brings a tear every time I hear it. And "Love Sick", despite being added to a Victoria's Secret commercial, is one of the bleakest, most beautiful songs Dylan has ever written!