Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

Merry Christmas!

This article will be short and sweet. Well, sweet to some and not so sweet to others. December 25 is the day that has been chosen for the majority of the world's citizens to celebrate a holiday we call Christmas.

For many, especially in Western cultures (America and Western Europe) Christmas is that time of year we take a break from our workaday world. During this break time various cultures celebrate it in various ways and for various reasons.

Many days prior to December 25 most of us spend an inordinate amount of time scanning catalogs, sale flyers and the internet looking for the perfect gift for our children and beloved spouse, along with gifts for coworkers, etc. And then spending more money than we have in the bank buying those gifts.

Ah! The "Perfect Gift"!

What is it? For a large part of my life the Perfect Gift I could give to family and friends was defined by it first and foremost being affordable. Other criteria often (but not always) included such things as would it please my spouse and be useful, and for the kids would it at least survive until the day after New Year's Day. For fellow coworkers most of the criteria was spelled out by our employer. Oh, well... guess that kills the exploding chair pad I was going to buy for my cube mate.

As parents of six kids (five of our own and one adopted) Dorothy and I were for many years constrained by the limits of income in the gifts we could afford to purchase. Rarely were we able to afford more that two gifts per child and more times than I can to remember it was difficult to be able to buy a single gift for each child, much less one for our beloved spouse.

Some of the best gifts, and most loved by our kids, were the ones we made. Cardboard boxes were were turned into space ships and tanks for the boys, while others were transformed into doll houses and make believe castles for the girls.

Among Dorothy's many talents was her ability to make and bake extraordinary candies, cakes and cookies (in addition to 3 meals a day when we could afford them). The kid's Christmas stockings would be filled to over flowing with cookies and other assorted treats that Dorothy made. Oh! I can still smell and taste them!

The highlight of our Christmas celebration was held at the local church we attended. The kid's Bible classes would put on short Christmas plays, sing songs and give Scripture recitations. Then the congregation would join together in singing a couple of Christian Christmas songs. After the songfest we'd often gather to share cookies, hot chocolate and other seasonal treats with other members of the congregation.

So, as promised here is the finality...

No matter what the state of the world, nation, state or your family's, I pray each of you will have a blessed and happy Christmas. Especially, as we remember to share the love that God shared with us by send His Son to pay our debts.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to one and all.


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