It just feels like Christmas

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

'Twas the day before Christmas, and all through the plains, there was no frigid chill ... no breath suspended in air ... no reason to bundle, or snuggle, or sip hot chocolate.

And we are all so busy ... so very, very busy. We hate to admit it, but we've been scurrying about so frantically that we haven't taken enough time to appreciate the decorations ... to really and truly see the lights ... to be swallowed up by the holiday hubbub.

It's a shame. We've been too busy to drop, or pick up, hints ... too busy to sneak a peek at what's under the tree. But, thankfully, even on the Eve of this most precious of celebrations, there's still time to coax the spirit of the season back into our lives.


Christmas is in the grins, the jitters, the squirms, the wide-eyed awe of children as they wait to open their presents.

It's in the ornaments -- some elegant, some kind of tacky looking -- which are dragged from storage and unwrapped slowly, in order to savor the memories from celebrations past.

Christmas is in the Toy Box program and in the Salvation Army bell ringing, to which Southwest Nebraskans and Northwest Kansans donated gifts to be delivered to families who might otherwise do without.

It's the time when, once again, we watch "The Wonderful Life" on television, and find ourselves getting weepy when Zuzu explains what happens when angels get wings.

It's in the cars driving slowly down roads and streets so kids can press their noses to the window and oooh at the sparkling lights.

Christmas is in the embraces at the railroad or the airport, embraces that reunite, that close the gap -- so quickly it seems like magic -- in time and distance.

It's in the special souls who hear about people in need and who, quietly and anonymously, arrange to help get them back on their feet.

And, symbolically, Christmas is in a baby's reaction to a Santa Claus doll when it's placed in her crib. It's in the crinkle in her brow, a crinkle that spreads to sparkles in her eyes, down, down her chubby little cheeks to a big, wide, oh-my grin. She has no idea, for now, who that fat, jolly fellow is, or what in this world he represents. She just feels like Christmas.

The Gazette gratefully acknowledges Daryl Lease, editorial writer for the Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune, who inspired this Christmas message and contributed major portions of the narrative.

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