It’s the spirit of the season

I have always loved the holidays. The cold weather (at least the fact that it is supposed to be cold) and the music, the decorations and everything’it all just makes me happy. With the holidays also comes the hither-and-yon schedule that makes the Stewart family crazy on a regular basis. As you might expect, with everything from Christmas parties to choir practices and performances, there is quite a plethora of time commitments’but that just adds to the entire holiday season feeling if you ask me. But this year is different. In years past, I would sometimes get to the week before Christmas before I really felt like it was the holiday season. Not so this year. Sunday kicked things into high gear for me and my holiday spirit. I sat at the sound board at the First Baptist Church 11 a.m. service and listened in awe as 50 or so members of the combined Methodist and Baptist choirs performed their first of two shows. Wow! I have been part of music for much of my life and I actually used to be pretty good with a trumpet. I have been part of Christmas musical performances since Holly and I first started dating, and I would say that I have a rather discerning ear which can sometimes be critical as well. With that being said, I’ll go out on a limb and say that Sunday’s performance by our Brady folks was one that now sits at the top of my list of favorites. I can’t tell what it was, but that point in time, those voices singing, the sound that filled that sanctuary Sunday morning was top notch, and judging by the numerous comments I heard, I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. We had choir practice again Wednesday night with the final tune-up for Sunday’s finale at the Methodist church after which I took the kids home and got them tucked into bed. I then proceeded to do a bit of Christmas wrapping to spruce up the underside of the tree in our den. I was at the office early Thursday working to get deadlines met when I got a call from home. All I could hear when I answered the phone were the squeals of delight from Brynn and Sam who had been informed that some presents had made it under the tree. I have run completely through my Christmas playlist on my Ipod at least four separate times over the past week or two (in case you want to know, there are 204 songs on that particular playlist). Holly and I got some holiday shopping done last weekend, we went to our good friend’s Christmas party Saturday night, performed in church on Sunday, went to another holiday party Sunday night . . it keeps getting better each day. I still have a few movies left on the “must see” list which of course will include at least two more showings of Ralphie and his quest for a Red Ryder BB gun in “A Christmas Story”. To make it even better, the weather actually feels like December. My only problem with this is that it is delaying the final stages of completion of the South Bridge Street road project. (For those of you who don’t know, the air temperature has to be above 50-something ‘F in order for ashpalt to be put down.) We still have about 10 days to Christmas, but I love the fact that I already have the holiday cheer tank level running near full. It makes it fun thinking about all the things for which I am thankful both personally and professionally. I hope you all take the opportunity to fill your own holiday cheer tanks. If you need a little help, I can definitely recommend a stop at the First United Methodist Church this coming Sunday at 10:30 a.m. You will be hard pressed to find an easier way to get yourselves into the Christmas spirit. I triple-dog dare you to show up for the performance.’JS

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