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OPINION: Have yourself a joyful Christmas

This week the Christmas decorations went up at the office here, making the holiday season feel just a bit more official.

However, Chilton County has been celebrating for weeks.

From tree lightings to parade and business open houses, Christmas in peach country is all about togetherness.

The Chilton County Chamber of Commerce open house also featured some of the first gifts of Christmas, as a commemorative ornament with a sketch of the peach tower was given away.

The ornament gifted to The Clanton Advertiser now hangs from a bough of our office tree amidst classic white lights, snowflake garland and red and blue ornaments.

Each of the local holiday events are a great way to spread Christmas cheer and help the community embrace the joy of the season leading up to the climax of presents on Christmas day.

A pastor recently told a congregation that traditionally people think we give gifts at Christmastime because Wise Men presented gifts to the baby Jesus. However, the pastor told them that was not the reason.

He pointed out that gift giving started with God giving Jesus to the world. By choosing to come to earth and live as a man (while still being fully God) and eventually make a way for all of humanity to be redeemed, Jesus is the greatest gift of Christmas.

All the other gifts of the season and the joy and excitement they bring are like an echo of the ultimate joy and excitement surrounding that first gift of Christmas.

Even the fact that lights play such a significant role in decorations subtly points back to the coming of the Light of the World.

This Christmas, I hope all of your celebrations of full of peace and joy. May this be one of the best Christmases ever.