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Consider this quote from Abe Lincoln

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."



Christmas. That special time that comes each year and makes us all a little different. For some it's a hectic time filled with parties and shopping and a million things to do. And for some it's a time of sadness and lonliness. For others it's a time of hope, and of love and of peace. Maybe for you it's a little of all three?

Christmas time growing up was always pretty special. Mom would decorate the house and there was always the ceramic nativity scene to be brought out and displayed. When I was young Dad would go out into a roadside ditch and cut down a cedar tree to bring in the house, but once we moved onto Great Grandpa's place we went artificial and Mom hasn't looked at a real tree since. There was always one or two special ornaments on our tree. There were little plastic icicles that came from Grandpa Joe. They were always there somewhere on the tree. Before that when we had a real tree, I remember some lights that were big bulbs with long glass points that bubbled when they got warm. But our favorite ornament wasn't really an ornament at all. It was a green plastic frog that we kids used in the bathtub. I don't remember exactly which one of us boys' put it on the tree, but it would move from place to place around the tree everyday. Mom would try to hide it in the back of the tree and we would find it and move it to the front in some prominent place. This game continues even today.

I remember a few special presents from growing up. Sometimes tractors, or a Tonka road grader, and there always seemed to be shirts that mom had made for us, and since we boys went through clothes pretty quickly there were always three matching shirts. I'm somewhat glad as I've gotten older that Mom has gotten out of the habit of dressing all of us alike, because no one can really for get the infamous bubble gum wrapper shirts that make me shudder when I see a picture of them to this day.

There was Christmas at home, always Christmas at Grandpa and Grandma Weesner's house. Some years there was Christmas at Grandpa and Grandma Countryman's house up beneath the old watertower in a big brown house on the hill in Redfield. And Christmas at Grandma B's. That was always an interesting gathering, more about just being together as a family than it was about gifts. Grandma B collected stuff, lots and lots of stuff. Glassware mostly and her front porch were we children were warned to stay away from was filled with it. She also had a red lava lamp which mesmorized me for hours watching the blobs move around. But the thing I remember the most was a little blue candy dish with a lid that reminded me of a spiked German war helmet. Inside was hard candy pieces and each of us kids could have a piece when we went there. We would remove the lid, look around in there to find the piece we wanted and finally gave up after about ten minutes of fighting the dish since the candy inside was always stuck in one big mass of candy. It would have taken a small explosive charge to get it out of the dish and I'm almost betting it was the same candy in the dish every year.

Whatever memories you carry this season, share them with the people who are important to you in life. As you gather this year with family and friends remember that it isn't really about the gifts, the food or the decorations, but truly about the gift of the Christ child who came to bring hope, and love and peace to this world. And if you happen to find the candy stuck together in the candy dish, remember those who formed your youth, who brought you joy and who you carry in your heart not only in this holiday season, but every day of the year.

See you next week....Rememeber, We're all in this together.