Southern Christmas is the best

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 17, 2001

Usually we visit weekly about funny things and reminiscences from years gone by.

Today, with Christmas upon us, I'd like to take the chance to share some thoughts about this season.

I am a son of the South.

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I've never known a white Christmas; never gone over the river and through the woods to Grandma's house; and my mother or grandmother would have never let me out of the house to go caroling if I had to bundle up like all those on TV.

To me, however, a Southern Christmas is truly the most special of any type celebrated.

Perhaps it's because by our nature we assign a religious value to most anything.

Maybe it's because we have a wonderfully venerated sense of tradition.

Personally, I think that it's just more of that Southern By The Grace of God.

And that's what Christmas should be: an extension of grace.

It's that time of year when already good manners go over the line to courtly; when smiles that normally shine grin a little wider.

Brownies taste better, clothes look brighter, and your car cranks a little easier.

Sunday mornings take on an even more special feeling, and you really do take just a little time to reflect.

A Southern Christmas is Santa with a drawl, going shopping in short-sleeved shirts, old family recipes shared with friends, homemade ornaments at women's club bazaars, red bows, oldest children home from the University,

poinsettias, choirs at full volume, out-of-state tags on cars parked in front yards, extra kisses for grandbabies, and iced tea instead of wassail.

A Southern Christmas sees a tentative truce between Alabama and Auburn fans, team ornaments on Christmas trees, deer hunters pausing to admire the sunrise, red birds on the bird feeders, strong men reduced to near tears at the thought of gift wrap, teenagers proud of their first Christmas job, and getting tired of divinity and fudge.

I marvel annually that no matter how crazy things get, I somehow have one moment when the purity of Christmas cuts through all the songs and tinsel and stops me cold.

It's that peace, that moment of wonder, that realization of a miracle long ago when a worried young man and a scared young lady were part of a birth that changed the world forever that eases into my heart and reminds me that Christmas is just that: all that is good and right and miraculous rolled up into one tiny package.

May you and your family and all those you love find in your hearts this Christmas that same moment of wonder, and may it stay within you always.

Merry Christmas, ya'll.