December 2023 Editor's Note: Season's Shine
by stephanie toews, executive editor
And in despair I bowed my head; “There is no peace on earth,” I said; For hate is strong, And mocks the song Of peace on earth, good-will to men Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; The Wrong shall fail, The Right prevail, With peace on earth, good-will to men.I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day – 1863, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
When it comes to Christmas, there are two teams- the pre- and post-Thanksgiving decorators. Much fun is had at the expense of the early and the late decorators, but whatever brings joy is ultimately the right way.
Truth be told, I’m one of those early decorators who left our Edison-style string lights up from last Christmas and have had them turned on since September. In my defense, they’re not Christmas lights per se, more like café lights adding ambiance to our home’s exterior (at least, this is how I justify leaving them up year-round). The glow of the lights makes returning home feel magical and cozy and extends a warm welcome to visitors and passers-by—my way to combat the long, dark days of the fall and winter months.
Light has incredible power to illuminate the way and shape an entirely different narrative. Over 2,000 years ago, the arrival of the guiding Light into a world plagued by unrest pierced through the darkness. Today, that same Light continues brightening the way, offering solace to our often-bleak stories and Good News for all. This is the essence of the Christmas message and remains the greatest gift ever to be given and received, the way we find peace alongside the presence of pain.
As we navigate the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, let’s keep our eyes on the most precious gift - one that comes without a price tag and holds the power to bring joy through acts of kindness, forgiveness, and love displayed through a smile for a stranger, an encouraging word, a listening ear, or an offered prayer. The gift that looks less like me first and more like after you, less like road rage and more like patience behind the wheel. Less judgment, more compassion, less fighting for position, and more humbly considering others better than ourselves. This is how we bring joy, peace, and light to this dark world, one precious offering at a time.
We hope you enjoy our Season’s Shine issue, filled with beautiful, shimmering lights, glimmering sparkle, tasty treats, and timeless traditions. Let your light shine brightly. Merry Christmas!
Brightening Billings: The Magic of Christmas Lights
Immerse yourself in the enchanting world of Billings' holiday spirit! Our latest article illuminates the history and magic of Christmas lights, from their humble candlelit beginnings to the dazzling array of displays we enjoy today. Discover how communities come together to create joyful memories, transforming our city into a luminous wonderland. From traditional displays to interactive wonders, explore the diverse brilliance of Billings' festive lights.
The Stockings Were Hung: Stocking Stuffers for Everyone on Your List
The timeless tradition of hanging stockings by the mantle and waking to find them filled with trinkets, candies, and toys comes from a folkloric tale rooted in joyful giving, and every year the custom continues to fill homes with expectation and delight on Christmas morning. Take a look at this list of fun and practical stocking stuffers we’ve curated for you.