The Christmas season is here!

Pat  Bryson’s December Reflections

December is one of my favorite times of the year. Although I’m usually home for the holidays, I have in the past traveled to far lands and experienced their Christmas traditions. I’ve found them as far away as Pakistan. Poland was especially memorable because I happened to be there on Santa Claus day and got to witness hundreds of Santas marching through the streets handing out candy to the children. Their main square was decorated to the hilt.

This year I spent the week after Thanksgiving in Helper, Utah. I was there for the first of two parades they hold on December 1 and 2. It was magical.

One of the best things about these parades is that anyone can be in them. There is no entry fee. If you’ve always wanted to be in a parade, this is your chance. There were extravagant floats, old cars, groups marching with twinkling lights. Everyone was having a great time.

Our stations there broadcast and narrated the parade. Before the parade started, Mallery, one of our announcers, oversaw “dancing in the street”. The parade-goers gathered around the reviewing stand and DANCED while Mallery and staff threw out light sticks, small gifts and beads. It was mayhem, but fun!

One of the most poignant parts of the parade was the first responders who drove their fire trucks, police cars and emergency vehicles in the parade. Their long-time fire chief had entered hospice that week and was not expected to live to Christmas. As each vehicle drove by the reviewing stand, they blasted their sirens three times in his honor.

Later I found out that he did indeed pass on that night. What a great sendoff!

I recount this story because we need to know that in today’s troubled and chaotic world, there are still places like Helper where the population comes together to celebrate the season. There were no demonstrations. No protestors. Just people enjoying one another’s company and remembering the reason for the season. The word “family” extends farther than your blood relatives. When you come to Helper, they adopt you.

The magic of Christmas is in part that most of the world stops on that date to reflect, to celebrate, to join those they love and to spend time together. Christmas Eve 1914. Throughout December, Pope Benedict had appealed to the leaders of Europe to call a truce for Christmas, hoping that this might lead to a negotiated peace. The leaders weren’t interested. But that didn’t stop the soldiers at the front. The German emperor had sent Christmas trees to the front in an effort to boost moral that was sorely lacking after a constant soaking rain had plagued the soldiers for days. As Christmas Eve approached, the German soldiers began putting their Christmas tress outside their trenches. Soon hymns rang out: Stille Nacht. These were answered by voices from the Allied lines by singing other Christmas carols. Then the remarkable happened: the soldiers came out of their trenches, moved together, exchanged cigarettes, shook hands, intermingled and talked with one another. Even speaking different languages, they managed to communicate. And for a few hours, the bloodshed stopped. Soldiers saw one another as human beings, not as enemies. They were all wishing to be home with loved ones instead of in miserable conditions under fire. It is unfortunate that in the morning , the truce ended and the war continued.

The magic of Christmas is that a tiny infant born centuries ago in an obscure land still has the power to stop wars, to change lives, to bring peace to the world. If the powers that be would but let him. The magic of Christmas starts with each one of us. If we could but bottle the feelings of love and goodwill that we experience at Christmas and sell it on Amazon we’d all be better off. I’d buy a few cases and I bet you would also.

I returned to Tulsa with my faith renewed that the heartland of the United States is still good. Is still kind, no matter what you hear on the news. We live in a wonderful country and this is a great time to be alive. We are all here on a mission and perhaps that mission is to spread love and caring to those we meet, no matter their faith or politics. There is much evil in the world but there is also much good. When good becomes as vocal as the evil has been, it will overcome.

Perhaps you view the babe in the manger as a prophet. Perhaps you are still waiting for the Messiah to come. Perhaps you have no belief in any God. Nevertheless, it’s hard to deny the power of December. The power of Christmas. The power of love that the season elicits.

I am signing off to sit under my tree and stare at the hundreds of lights that now adorn my home. The presents are wrapped, the Christmas music is playing, my calendar is full of activities with friends. I plan to remember those who are no longer here to celebrate with me and to enjoy those who still are.

I wish you and your friends and family a very wonderful Christmas. I know the PC term is “Happy Holiday” but for me it will always be “Merry Christmas” or “Buon Natale”.

The Bryson Broadcasting Newsletter will return on 15 January, 2024. Until then, enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy!

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