Well, here we are. The Christmas season has finally arrived.
And with it comes the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and emotions that time of year always brings.
The city's annual Christmas parade is just a week away and residents are looking forward to the colorful floats, marching bands and an early visit from old St. Nick himself.
In the days to come families will be putting up their Christmas trees, young and old delighting in the sparkling lights and bright decorations. If the tree is freshly cut, then the fragrant aroma of evergreen will fill the room as well.
Many radio stations, stores and offices feature Christmas music this time of year. The songs run the gamut, From traditional favorites like "Silent Night" and "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" to more modern songs like "Jingle Bell Rock" and "Blue Christmas" to the latest numbers and re-recordings by today's artists .Holiday music offers something for everyone.
Then there the shopping experience. Plenty of toys for all ages in the stores.
Some readers likely finished their Christmas shopping a while ago. Other will be finished soon and still others will be prowling the stores on Christmas Eve.
There will be old Christmas movies and TV specials -- along with some new offerings -- on TV this month. And of course anyone who doesn't want to to wait for an old favorite can buy the DVD or use a online service to stream the title to their computer or TV screen anytime they want.
One thing you don't see as much of anymore is elaborate house and lawn decorations. That's to bad. It wasn't all that long ago that folks drove slowly around neighborhoods like Kensington Park to see the lights and other decorations. Some homeowners still make a good effort, but the practice has been dying out for years now. At least around these part. We miss it.
Yes, the outward and visible signs of Christmas will be everywhere this month. But there is more to Christmas than that.
There will be church services and community gatherings for the faithful. Plenty of opportunity to pray for God's blessings on our nation and world. And plenty of opportunity to thank Him for the blessings we too often take for granted.
There are many in our community need help this holiday season. There will be no joy for them unless someone--a friend, a neighbor, a kind-hearted stranger--choses to step in.
That's where the true Christmas spirit makes itself known--by what we do for those who are less fortunate.
After all, the one for whom Christmas is named told us to love our neighbors as ourselves.
We can't tell you what to do or where to put your money. That's up to you. We can only encourage each and every one of you to remember why we celebrate in the first place and follow your heart this Christmas season.