Editor's note: Stan Portmann was the editor of the Franklin Favorite from 1953 to 1984. In his memory, the Franklin Favorite annually publishes his column entitled, "Christmas is..." This column first appeared in 1969, and has been published each Christmas for the past 47 years as a holiday tradition. As you can see, in contrast to the rest of our lives, the celebration of Christmas hasn't changed all that much.

Christmas is... For adults, the mad rush... the long hours...the snowstorm and crisp cold... the party whirl carolers... a crash course in toy engineering... near panic... the frustration of exhaustion... and the hovering threat of fiscal disaster... the renewal and affirmation of old friendships both near and afar... the rosy glow of an open fire... the toast-warm, feathersoft feel of a sleepy child... the deep satisfying warmth of a hot drink at the end of a long day... and a warm bed... the whimsical humor of a child's Christmas pageant... the peace of a candlelight service on Christmas Eve... the renewal in the wonders of parenthood... the brotherhood of man... the ultimate blessing of giving... the favorite gift that just happens to be a dime story bauble bought with meticulous care from hoarded allowance and wrapped with clumsy love... and any gift, big or small, made with feeling from a beloved mate.

Christmas is... For the children, the Christmas parade... the hustling, bustling store... the escalator... visits to Santa... decorating the Christmas tree... incredulous wonder... the snowball fight... the sled ride... unbearable anticipation... the spirit of giving and sacrifice... forbidden goodies now openly displayed for the taking... slightly veiled hints and late night peeps into pre-scouted hiding places... the Christmas play and party... and the exhilarating thrill of constant confusion... on Christmas Eve, oh, the unbearable wait for Christmas morn at the age of innocence...

Christmas is... Above all, the birthday of Jesus Christ... God's precious gift of humble birth and royal being... the servant of mankind... the portrait of noble death... the ressurection of faith.

May peace walk with you and yours on this Christmas.

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