I love Tuolumne County at Christmas! The decorations go up, and then the fun begins! From our annual Sonora Christmas Crafts Faire and our sweet nighttime Santa Parade to twinkling lights and brisk cold nights, in Sonora you KNOW it’s Christmas!
As the days draw closer we have some longstanding traditions that draw delightful, cheerful crowds: The annual Columbia College Christmas concert, AAUW’s Home Tour, pageants at churches and schools, Santa’s little house in Courthouse Park. (One new “tradition…an oxymoron, for sure…is our fun storytelling and ukulele show, Santa’s Gone Hawaiian, held on the first Saturday in December at Stage 3 Theatre.)
Then on the same day, with less than 10 days until Christmas, we all enjoy Mut’s Bean Feed when one of our favorite cowpokes, Mr. Galen Mutzner, parks his beanpot right by offices of the Union Democrat, our town newspaper. Mut treats the whole town to his homecooked beans while carollers and musicians stroll Washington Street. Soon everyone walks up the street where the whole town gathers at Sonora Courthouse Park for the “Annual Pop Hudson Sing.” Clubs and service organizations take turns leading all of us in a host of traditional carols. Oh, how my tears flow each year as friends in our little town sing together, “Peace on Earth; Goodwill to All.”
That same day, when we all get home and open our Union Democrat newspapers, there it is: The “Letters to Santa Claus” issue! We have a chance to glimpse the hearts and minds of our youngest citizens as Kindergarten and First Grade children from all over the county share their hopes and dreams for the Season. From the hottest new toy to finding a job for Dad, their sweet letters and drawings sink into our hearts. What better reminder that this Bright Season holds the dreams of innocence, of love, of wishes fulfilled.
We’ve all heard the phrase, “The Reason for the Season.” I bring out my Creche. I read the tender Words of Luke 2:8-20 to relive that Holy Night. Wrapped in swaddling clothes is the image of a Sweet Babe, His simple innocence.
But doesn’t Christmas also mark the birth of every baby, that quiet moment when Mother and Child look into each other’s eyes? This gentle time brings cherished memories to each of us. The feel of the air, the color of bright packages, the scent of favorite treats, the old familiar carols play. “Wild and sweet the word repeats…”
At midnight on Christmas Eve, I’ll tuck myself in some quiet pew of a little church to feel the fellowship, to sing the songs, to hear the bells. Christmas holds such magic! Of love, of family, of a community that comes together to hold hands under twinkling lights on brisk cold nights.
Dear friends and family…Merry Christmas!
I’m B.Z. Smith…I tell stories…Here’s one.