Chapel Chimes: A Gift is On the Way!

By Sarah Sexton | Publish Date December 19, 2022

By The Rev. Richard B. Hanna, Chaplain

A story is told of a woman who was way behind on her Christmas to-do list. So as to at least get her Christmas cards mailed before the holiday, she hurriedly bought a pack of 50 cards with an attractive Christmas design on them. Without even looking inside the cards, she quickly addressed them, stamped them, and then rushed down to the Post Office. She put the whole pile of cards into the mail slot – but decided to peek at the last one to see what the message was on the inside. She read, “A gift is on the way.”

This message is what Christmas is all about. Now, I’m sure that most of us are going to get some gifts this Christmas, some of them pretty nice. Let us remember, however, that the most important gift – the best gift – that we could ever receive is not under the Christmas Tree. The best gift is in a manger in Bethlehem.

A gift is on the way – the person and presence of Jesus Christ. The Gospel of John said it so well, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever would believe in him would not perish but have everlasting life.” And there is no better gift that we could receive.

Groping in darkness, seeking God’s will;

Caught in life’s starkness, God’s voice seemed so still.

Few were expecting that glorious night,

With starlight reflecting that marvelous sight.

Few heard the angels break into song,

Most were distracted, the time seemed so wrong.

But shepherds and Magi, the family of faith,

a stubborn inn-keeper and beasts who were safe,

caught the first glimmer of God’s holy will,

in starlight’s bright shimmer, on that night so still.

For the Word became flesh and dwells with us now,

crying in stable, with donkey and cow.

For ages we wondered, “What is God like?”

God’s answer is given this Holy Night.

 May God bless us all as we celebrate this Christmas season and pray for a New Year of hope, health, joy and peace!


The Residents

Our residents come from different backgrounds and bring their unique qualities, talents, and life experiences to complete the Kirkwood community. Here are just a few reflections from some individuals who call Kirkwood their home.

I fell in love with the cottage and the view from my back porch. I am excited to have a yard for Ginger, my poodle, to play in and my own garage, all within an established retirement community!

Charlotte Hamilton Current Resident

My husband and I looked at a number of places when deciding to move to a retirement community. For the most part, we found communities that said, ‘We’re going to take care of you.’ But Kirkwood was different. It wasn’t just about taking care of us. It was also about having fun, having friends, and living life to the fullest. The attitude at Kirkwood was positive and the atmosphere was comforting. We simply couldn’t resist. Without a doubt, the location was ideal. The Cahaba Room that overlooks the river, the mountains, the trails – there were just so many things about life. The community was lively. It was alive.

Alice Brooks Current Resident

We realized we were approaching an age where we might need more assistance than what just downsizing could provide. Knowing we have my sons nearby and the levels of care should we need it is comforting, and the beautiful hillside, river, and the woods makes it that much more appealing. We don’t know of any other community that has the woods, the various levels of care, and so many different amenities.

Phyllis and John Guschke Current Residents

We were moving my parents down from the Cleveland area to be near us. I looked at almost every retirement place in the Birmingham area. The second I turned into Kirkwood’s drive and drove up the hill, I knew that I’d found the perfect place for my parents to live in Alabama. In the six years that my parents have been at Kirkwood, I have always felt nothing but love and helpfulness from every staff member. Everyone is always helpful with a pleasant attitude. You can truly see and feel the family atmosphere. I’m happy that my parents can call Kirkwood their home.

Brenda Sheehan Kirkwood family member

When we learned that Cedar Ridge was being developed, that seemed to fit our needs very well. It is the ideal place for the next phase of our retirement.

Carol and Arthur Stephens Current Residents

One thing that we feel is very important here at Kirkwood by the River is the relationship that we have between the staff and the residents. They are dedicated to making our life here as safe and secure and pleasurable as possible. That goes a long way.

Fred Rogers Current Resident

The community's cottage living surrounded by a wooded, natural environment with access to future healthcare services is what attracted us to Kirkwood!

Rick and Jane Ricketts Current Residents