Merry Christmas, Lassen County!

Christmas time is here again — well, almost.

Before too long, jolly old St. Nick, his reindeer and his present-laden sleigh will be skidding noisily across rooftops all around Lassen County as the little ones slumber quietly with their secret wishes, delightful dreams and expectations of what the new Christmas morning will bring.

For those of us who want to pause from our merriment for a moment or two and follow Santa’s progress in Lassen County on Christmas Eve, go to our website, lassennews.com, and click on the link that takes you to Norad’s Tracks Santa. You’ll also find games to play, Santa’s favorite music to listen to, stories to read about Santa and other holiday traditions.

Living rooms have been decorated with lighted trees, and families will gather in the dim grey light of Christmas morning (as soon as the anxious children can rouse their sleepy parents) to open their brightly wrapped gifts and presents — hopefully with crunchy new snow on the ground outside to create that white Christmas the singers always croon about.

For the rest of the day, the older folks will hear the awesome sounds of new toys and new games, the buzzy hum of whirly things and imagined Super Bowl-winning touchdowns made with footballs that have yet to meet their first grass stain.

Come late afternoon or early evening, the families will gather again around the dinner table for a bountiful meal.

Of course, on this day we should not forget the religious origin of the holiday in the midst of our secular festivities.

It might be easy to think of Christmas simply as a time to exchange gifts and enjoy a special meal, but that would be a mistake. It’s not the bright wrapping paper and ribbons and bows, the lights and the tinsel, all the packages and the cards or even the food served on our festive tables that are important. It’s the love we share with each other — especially our families and our friends — that make the day. Love is the true bounty of Christmas.

Let us not forget the reason for the season. Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, the savior of the world who came to redeem our sins — a time of peace on earth and good will to men. We should remember how the shepherds tending their flocks near Bethlehem received the good news from an angel that a savior had been born and how the magi offered Him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

We’ve had all kinds of opportunities to share with those who are less fortunate to ensure they, too, have a happy holiday by contributing to any number of charitable organizations, and many of us have risen to the occasion and shared with those who have a need.

Soon all the waiting will be over, and in a few days, the beloved holiday will finally arrive.

In the meantime, as we await that wonderful day, from all of us here at the Lassen County Times, to all of you — our neighbors, our readers, our advertisers and our friends — we wish you a very Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and a joyful holiday season. May God reach out and bless each and every one of us at this festive time of year.

Scroll down