Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Country Christmas in Las Vegas 2012

Growing up in a small Indiana town a short bike ride to the corn fields and my grandparents' farm was not much farther away. I can't remember even one Christmas season when my city grandmother didn't sit at her kitchen table and string popcorn to hang on the tree.

My country grandparents' decorated a tree with red and green paper chains, clip-on candles and ice cycles. I haven't folded the pages of a TV Guide into my own little Christmas tree to keep in my bedroom in years.

The family gathering to hear my father read the Christmas story from Luke chapter 2. Waking up to a new BB gun, Lawn Jarts or the pogo stick Santa left me under the tree are past. But the warm feeling the Christmas season creates when I smell warm apple cider or see pinecones on a tree take me home again.

The pond in the cow pasture froze every winter for us to build a bon fire on and skate for days on end; it's nowhere to be found here in Las Vegas.

Casinos in Las Vegas display the most extravagant and beautiful Christmas decorations in Las Vegas. The decorations bring together the magical beauty and grace found in a Cirque De Sole show with a Freemont Street multi concert and light show.

In mid November, a group of friends enjoyed tent camping at Red Rock Canyon just west of Las Vegas. It was the start of my Christmas season when I was far enough from the Strip to see the stars. It was looking at the night sky that reminded me of the pictures in my fathers' family Bible of the Christmas night with a beam of light between heaven and earth. Yes it was the Luxor light surrounded by twinkling stars, there was no manger with a newborn Christ child inside, but the feelings of knowing the Christmas season was about to start was real.

I was blessed to enjoy the Christmas season growing up in Indiana. From Cleveland to Nashville and more recently in Orange County where Jim and Susan opened their home on Christmas Eve and Roger and Ellen always made me feel like family on Christmas morning. Although I never told either, there wasn't one time I left there homes after a Christmas gathering, I wasn't so overwhelmed from all the love they shared that I didn't wipe the tears from my eyes.

This year my home is in Las Vegas. A tree decorated with popcorn balls, candy apples, strings of cranberries and an angel on top brings home the feeling and memories of love that make the season a Country Christmas no matter where I live.

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