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December 14, 2021

The Enduring Meaning of The Holidays

“The Spirit of The Holidays is in each one of us.”

– Liz Piraino, Chaplain, MonteCedro

The holidays are a special time of year, one filled with joy, worship, celebration, family, and sometimes even sadness. It is an occasion that inspires reflection about our relationships – with ourselves, with others, and the collective Spirit that guides us all.

ECS tends to all aspects of care – physical, intellectual, spiritual, emotional, and social wellbeing. This holistic approach to senior living has attracted wonderful spiritual leaders to our communities and allows us to minister to people of all faiths.

A nativity scene displayed at MonteCedro.

With the holidays approaching, we asked them to share their thoughts about the enduring meaning of the season and its universal message.

For Chaplain Celeste Stump of The Canterbury, Father Rick Byrum of The Covington, and Chaplain Liz Piraino of MonteCedro, the holiday season is one of the busiest of the year. As residents gather with family, celebrate with each other, and remember special times from long ago, the needs of the spirit come to the fore.

Father Rick says it is a time when people reflect on the bigger picture. “The human need for hope is innate and celebrations around Christmas and Hanukkah remind us that we are not alone.” For Chaplin Liz, the season provides comfort not just through the holidays. “The joy of Christmas is transcendent,” she says.

Part of the message of Christmas, peace on earth and goodwill to all, appeals to the better nature in everyone. This universal understanding offers an opportunity to commune with all residents. “Christmas reminds us it is good to be human,” says Father Rick.

The holidays are meant to be shared and celebrated with others and to that end, each community offers plenty of activities to help residents enjoy the season. It is also a time when the absence of loved ones is particularly difficult. For Chaplain Celeste, it is important to acknowledge that sadness. “We hold an annual ‘Getting Through the Holidays’ event,” she says. “It helps those who might be struggling feel understood. It brings great comfort.”

Throughout December, ECS Priests and Chaplains will be hosting and participating in many events, helping residents celebrate the holidays. “Our role,” says Chaplain Celeste, “is to offer the gift of presence.”

One tradition that happens every year at The Covington is the reading aloud of The Night Before Christmas. It is a special time that evokes the memories of childhood. Around the warm glow of the tree, residents come together to listen to the story, share in the spirit, and rejoice in the glory of the morning to come.

From all of us at ECS, we wish our residents and their families good tidings, many blessing, and a joyful holiday season.


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ECS offers exceptional continuing care retirement community living at three beautiful locations in Southern California. Our relaxed, maintenance-free, resort-style accommodations and active campus environment offer the perfect place to continue your journey of a life well-lived, on your terms. Call us today to learn more.

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