On the evening of Nov. 24 the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony took place in Long Beach and was attended by quite a crowd. Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus were there, along with the Long Beach Volunteer Fire Department and their ladder truck. The Claus family went up in the ladder truck and when Santa touched the tree with his magical candy cane the tree blossomed forth in a multitude of colors.

Before the tree lighting everyone sang Christmas carols; you know, the usual ones about snowmen, Santa Claus, sleigh rides and mistletoe. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line someone apparently forgot why we celebrate the Christmas season. Yeah, you've heard this old song and dance routine before. Well here it comes again and if your feelings get hurt, excuse me.

We were disappointed because not one single carol was sung about the birth of Jesus Christ. Remember Him? The reason for the season. In the past we've always sang a few of the truly traditional carols like Silent Night, The First Noel or It Came Upon A Midnight Clear. It may be possible that in this age of overly zealous political correctness these songs have become too offensive to be heard in a public setting in Long Beach. If that's the case then our nation is truly in serious trouble.

We're fully aware that most of our Christmas traditions are derived from pagan rituals and ceremonies, but they are a part of what makes the holiday season so much fun. We don't have a problem enjoying jolly old St. Nick, mistletoe and holly, eggnog or the giving of gifts so long as we keep in mind that Christ and Christmas really do belong together.

We encourage all of you to sit down with your family on Christmas Eve, open your family Bible, go to "The Gospel According to Luke" and read Luke, chapter two, verses one through 20. Then let the kids go nuts tearing open their presents. Happy Holy Days.

Ralph D. Warner

Ocean Park

Jeff & Charity Patterson

Ocean Park

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