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Holiday Attitudes

December 27, 2016
by Dan Voigt , Emmetsburg News

The Christmas holiday, according to the calendar, is over, and New Year's is just a few short days away. If you have youngsters at your home, hopefully Santa was kind and the kiddos haven't broken every toy, exhausted the batteries, and begun with the dreaded, "I'm bored, there's nothing to do," chant.

For some parents, the chant (on their part) is something along the lines of "when do they go back to school?"

I know several families who use the holidays as a chance for a family getaway - and in some cases, escape from the freezer-like conditions we lived through last weekend.

Yes, it was colder than most of us would have cared for, but in the long run, we survived, albeit by shivvering a bit, but then again, as I am reminded by posts on social media, we could be living in climates where the occasional alligator can be found camped out on your front porch, sunning himself.

Hmmm, given the choice, I'll shivver, thank you.

One thing about the days leading up to Christmas, a person can learn a lot about society by watching and listening. A case in point - I attended the various holiday concerts presented by Emmetsburg students at all levels - from the Kindergarten through High School students. In each concert, I was pleasantly surprised to see the number of people from the community and area who may not have children in the performing groups who turned out to hear these young people.

Of course, there are moments in every performance that stand out. For example, the Kindergarten and First Grade concert is always filled with a couple of youngsters who give their best imitation of the latest contestants on The Voice, or Dancing With The Stars as they take the stage or perform. And of course, there are always a couple of shy waves at parents or family members from the stage, along with tons of smiles from youth and audience alike.

Last Monday evening, the High School Holiday Concert once again brought a near-capacity crowd to the high school auditorium to hear songs of the season from the Concert Band and Choirs. As is tradition, the Concert Choir's portion of the concert begins in total darkness with the male chorus members singing 'O Come, O Come Emmanuel". The peaceful sounds of "Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella" usher in the women in the darkness, with candles providing the only illumination to set the mood of that night of nights.

But perhaps it is the final number performed by the chorus - with former alumni participating in the tradition Christmas Carol Fantasy that concludes with the beautiful "O Come All Ye Faithful", where the audience joins in for the final verse of praise and gratitude for the birth of that child on a cold winter's night so long ago.

Moments like that give one pause to consider what the true reason for this season of the year is really all about. It seems like every year our society moves just a bit further and further away from the real purpose of celebrating Christmas. We can't ever loose sight of that - no matter how much the times change and society speeds up.

There's no crime in slowing down a bit over the holidays, taking time to give to the needy, spend time with family and friends and most of all, remember why we received the gift of that infant in a manger so very long ago.



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