Editor, Grove Sun
The winter solstice has passed and the days are once again getting longer by imperceptible increments.
It's rather like watching the moon rise over a distant bluff. First a small glowing sliver appears and then, without detectable movement, the entire moon becomes visible.
One morning in February the sun will seem suddenly to rise much earlier than usual and the days will be noticeably longer.
Today is Christmas Eve and I pray that everyone who is reading this column is having a wonderful and blessed holiday.
The other day I was discussing the Christmas holiday with a friend of mine who I met while traveling in India 12 years ago. I was describing the various festivities in Grove, such as the lighted Christmas parade and all the gatherings and singing and sweets.
What I was trying to communicate when I told him about the various ways we recognize Christmas was how incredibly busy the holiday season is and how overwhelmed I felt at the manic pace of "merriment" and all the tasks that needed to be completed in order to "make merry."
Being a Hindu, my friend has never celebrated Christmas; nor has he ever traveled in the States.
His take on Christmas was that it sounded like great fun and he was glad that I was having such a jolly time.
At first I thought, "Oh, he has missed the point."
But then I remembered that it was I who was missing the point.
It should be fun. It should be a time for reverence and gratitude. It is the promise of new and everlasting life. It is the turning point when the sun begins to cycle back towards spring. It is the birthday of the Son.
Real merriment comes from the simple realization that there are so many beautiful gifts in life – so many things that are already there to be appreciated if we only open our eyes and look around.
The more we rush about and focus on how busy we are and how many things must be accomplished before Christmas dawns, the more we forget to simply enjoy what is.
The Grove Christmas parade was beautiful. I missed it this year for the first time, since I was riding on the Grove Sun's float instead of trudging up and down the street in my parka shooting pictures like I usually do.
But I got another present – all the smiles and waves and wishes of "Merry Christmas" from the spectators who lined the street and appeared to be thoroughly enjoying themselves.
I would like to thank this wonderful community and so many of my readers who have given me such beautiful smiles and warm wishes this season and every season.
My publisher, Cheryl Franklin, gave me a great gift this morning.
She asked me to come take pictures and write the story about Paul Roberts that appears on today's front page.
Little did I know when she asked me to meet her at Bryant's corner at 9:00 a.m. that I would be participating in the spreading of true joy and warmth, and that I would have the privilege of meeting some really wonderful people.
I am so thankful to be part of this community.
Merry Christmas everyone!