Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Joy to the World

Joy to the World

Our town is full of illuminated displays, bright colors for the holiday season. On my daily inspection of the decorations, in the morning before the sun is up, I surveyed my neighbors' bright-colored response to the coming holidays.

It surprised me to recall the number of different traditions that celebrate this as a season to be jolly, each in its own way. A few years ago, Kwanzaa was introduced as an African tradition, with candles and many gifts. The Jewish holidays have long been celebrated as a Festival of Lights. I was told that the Chinese workers, back where I was born in Montana, celebrated the New Year at the time of my birth. And there are many other traditions, including of course the Christians, that celebrate at this time. The eight Pagan celebrations don't include Christmas, but Pagans can celebrate anyway.

In any case, as I was inspecting our neighbors' bright-colored decorations early this morning, I was surprised to notice how few of them were specifically Christian. There were a couple of miniature mangers, with shepherds and wise men, but other theme were much more evident. Many, many reindeer. Big, inflatable Santa Claus or Elves, including a Grinch, with a green face in a Santa Suit. Only one of our city's churches had a full-scale display!

The message I got, from the dozens of bright and shining lights, on this mildly chilly morning, was that we want to celebrate these holidays with bright colors and joyful gatherings, in which we can join with our neighbors in singing "Joy to the World."

John M Morris

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