I am amazed at the mentality of some people. It astounds me that there have been at least three deaths in stores yesterday during the shopping craze. Why would anyone take a loaded gun into a TOY STORE? (although from news reports, the two deaths in that case sound like they were gang related) And good grief, for over 2,000 people to stampede a Walmart at 5:00 IN THE MORNING, killing one person and injuring two others? Why? Tony was reading one of the stories on that on-line and we had to laugh at one of the comments that ended "and I am not kidding!" The writer blamed it all on Bush. Of course, who else could be to blame?
As for us, we spent about two hours in our little town last night -- I am thankful for Minnesota and especially Park Rapids (well, except for those 2-4 weeks during Feb/March when the temperatures don't even get to -10). Every Wednesday during the school year, students have the option of "release time" where for a couple hours in the morning, they are bussed to several local churches (their choice...of which church, and whether to take part or stay in school) who give them Bible classes. How great is that? And how sad that I am excited about something like that! But here in Park Rapids, we also have a Live Nativity every year downtown before the Christmas Tree lighting (at least one other neighboring town, Nevis, does the same). The photos are quite dark, but you might be able to see Joseph, Mary, and Baby Jesus (played by some of our best market customers!), the angels, and my brother-in-law's donkeys.
After watching the live nativity (and baby Jesus was QUITE fussy!), we walked and looked in store windows, saw many friends, Grandpa and Grandma, and Uncle Jonathan's family, wished and hoped for a princess ballerina ornament (at least, one of us did), then joined the huge crowd singing Christmas carols and other songs before Santa arrived in a horse drawn sleigh to help light the huge Christmas tree. As Luke and I were walking (Tony and Susi were watching the tree), they announced that they'd found a blue mitten if someone had lost it. It looked very familiar....and yep, Luke's had disappeared. We went to claim it, only to realize his other mitten was missing, too. One of us is heartbroken about that.
I'm thankful, too, that my kids enjoy Santa but also know he is just somebody wearing a costume and pretending and has nothing to do with presents...and that Jesus is real and the reason for Christmas. My heart warmed as we walked back to the car, hot cocoa in hand (well, luke warm cocoa, at that point!), and Luke said, "Mama, this was so fun, but the best part of all was seeing Baby Jesus in the manger."