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In My Opinion...
Editor
Wednesday, December 7, 2011 • Posted December 7, 2011

The lights have been up for a couple of weeks. The Christmas music is on every station. And now, the cold weather has arrived. It's hard not to feel the cheer of the holiday when all this starts coming together.Around town, there's that "tingle" in the air that always goes hand in hand with the time from Thanksgiving till New Year's Day. When someone wishes me "happy holidays," I know that they're not forgetting Christmas; but, simply including the other celebrations that fall within that same period. I know their hearts are filled with goodness and grace, and I'm too polite to even think about suggesting they have the wrong greeting, since they really don't.Add into this wonderful mixture the giddiness that goes with a football team that has taken us from the scorching days of August into the icy nights of December. Mason could ask for very few gifts that compare with a series of games in December. This week, we go into Baylor's home stadium in Waco, and the attire will be the warmest purple we can find.I've been fortunate enough to already have attended a couple of Christmas parties, and I still have a few more to go. They are small and large, extravagant and simple. But, they are all celebrating the same thing - Christmas.At church, we continue studying Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth and their towns. We have learned about the hardships of the time and of the culture. We have learned about the humanity of people we have deified over the centuries, helping us to realize why the birth of the Christ child is amazing on so many levels.Not least was the many journeys involved for the participants. The journey of Mary to stay with her cousin, Elizabeth. The journey of Joseph to take his bride, carrying a child that was not his. The journey of Mary and Joseph to comply with the census, an arduous trip in good times, even more trying when nine months pregnant.I told my high school Sunday school class to imagine walking to Art. Walking to Brady. Walking to San Angelo. With each journey, one could only move forward, never quite sure what would happen upon arrival, or along the way to their destination. We discuss the emotional journey that was taken by those involved, as well as the physical journey. We talk about the teenagers that became the earthly parents of the Christ child, and I tell the students that Mary and Joseph were just like them - young, humble and simple in their ways. My high school kids understand the confusion and wonder of Joseph and Mary. They understand the struggles of the land. They understand the wonder of being a vessel of God - accepting everything on faith when there is no other way to accept it.I look around our town, brightly lit and alive with Christmas cheer, and I think of our journeys and travels this year. We have struggled through hardships and travails. We have contended with nature, with the economy, with life. Along the way, we have had successes, and a few failures. We have had good days and bad.And now, just over two weeks before Christmas just over three weeks before the end of the year, we see an end to many of these journeys. We've had some rain. We've had better, if uneven financial situations. And, we have our Punchers.God gives us our gifts and miracles, if we can only recognize them. Find them when you can. Accept them when they come. Celebrate them always. The journey is almost ended. Don't forget to look about you and enjoy the sights along the way.It’s all just my opinion.

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