Christmas is a time when we can reflect on the past year and on those that have helped shaped our lives in a most significant way. It is a time when we can put our differences aside, remember how much we value our relationships with family and friends, and give to those in need. But ultimately, Christmas is the time of year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Christmas celebrations are our celebration of God's gift of salvation to us.
Traditions abound in our communities this time of year, and the Statehouse is no exception. One of the most beloved Statehouse Christmas traditions is organized by the first lady. For more than 20 years the Indiana Christmas Tree Growers Association has donated a Christmas tree, and then students from all over Indiana are asked to mail handmade ornaments to the Statehouse to be hung on the tree. Once the tree is in place, schools are given the chance to participate in the Statehouse Christmas program where students can hang their own ornaments, hear a story read by the first lady and visit Santa Claus.
There are many local events taking place around the area, with concerts and plays, visits from Santa and community parades. One of our family’s favorite traditions is the Journey to Bethlehem program put on at New Hope Christian Church. We have also started working on our family tradition of making Christmas candy that we give to family and friends. Also, on Dec. 23 we will be caroling and playing our musical instruments with our family at one of the local nursing homes. Whatever the opportunity this season, take time to gather with family, friends and neighbors.
May the closeness of friends, the comfort of home, and the unity of our nation renew your spirits this holiday season. Merry Christmas and happy New Year’s to you and yours.