Oh no, winter is really here now! (Hopefully the spirit of the season will keep you warm.)

Oh no, winter is really here now! That wind is biting and I heard a weatherperson on the radio this morning say that next week it is going to be colder than we’ve experienced in most Decembers. Brrr!

And, just in time for the school concert season—when I bundle up, park a block or so away, and sit in the dark (starting to sweat) attempting to take decent pictures of our local talented youth. It’s a good thing I love music. Even if the pictures don’t turn out as well as I’d hope, at least I get to enjoy the tunes.

While the cold that is coming may be more than necessary, it will firm up conditions for the drive through Sportsmen’s Park to view the Holiday Lights in Motion. I saw the following message on their Facebook page a couple days ago, “Despite wet conditions and incredibly soggy roads, nearly 2,600 vehicles have traveled through the display in the first 11 days of 2016. Thank you for your support!”

I imagine the multitude of people enjoying the lights is what keeps the Holiday Lights crew going and going. The amount of work they put in to provide this amazingly fun spectacle for the community would be overwhelming for most people—but Mike, Shari and the rest of the group are super heroes! The work doesn’t stop when the lights flick on for the first time. Water and wind both create problems with the lights, but they just keep twinkling for our enjoyment.

So, all this Santa Claus, sparkly lights and musical fun are certainly entertaining and make the dark days of December fly by, but are not the only things that make the season bright.

The season brings out the generosity of many people. In the midst of decorating our homes, buying gifts for loved ones and baking goodies, we also think of people who do not have the means to do those things that we take for granted.

The students at our schools organize special collections—food for the hungry, warm clothing for those in need—and learn to share and care for others. Santa’s Closet, organized by the Sertoma Club in New Ulm, collects toys and money for children in New Ulm and Sleepy Eye, who likely wouldn’t receive Christmas gifts—many adults and children find joy in donating to their cause.

Of course, that is what it is really about. The way we celebrate the Christmas season is a response to a belief in God’s gift to humanity. People possess varying degrees of that belief—some not at all, some in a superficial way and some with their whole being. But the spirit of giving seems to come to most people during the Advent and Christmas season.

Those who donate to people in need, those who organize fun events for children and families, those who light the dark nights, those who praise God’s gifts . . .they all embody the Christmas spirit in some way.

Speaking of lighting the night, have you noticed all the beautifully decorated homes in Sleepy Eye? Please send me pictures (by email please) and/or addresses, of your favorites. I will take some pictures or use yours and publish them in the next few papers. Let’s light up the pages!