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                   Monday, December 24, 2007 - 4:39PM

Christmas 2007: Changing traditions

By DAN ROBINSON
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Right: The typical Robinson family Christmas tree in Washington, Pennsylvania in 2002.

Christmas is going to be significantly different for me this year. For the first time in my 32 years, I will be by myself on Christmas morning. It will also be the first time in 26 years that I'll be spending the holiday (Christmas eve and morning) in West Virginia instead of at my parents' house in Pennsylvania. When we were kids, Christmas was a big family reunion every year, with relatives from all over the country converging on Charleston for at least a few days before New Years. There was even a second dinner and 'opening of presents' at my grandparents house on the 26th, a few times rivaling the ones we had at our house in Pennsylvania the day before. As work schedules changed and kids went from high school to college to eventually having their own families, the Charleston 'holiday reunions' gradually diminished. And with my siblings both married now, most of the old family traditions of this time (everyone coming home for Christmas) are relics of the past.

This is all OK with me, however. No violins are playing sad music in the background here. As a Christian you'd think I'd be otherwise, but I'm not the biggest fan of the Christmas season. Part of it has to do with the historical fact that Jesus wasn't really born in December (or even in the winter), so with my objective mind it is hard for me to go along with everyone and pretend to celebrate that He really was. The meaning of the season is largely lost in our culture as well, mainly being a time for children and families (and retailers) to enjoy - not something that singles can really appreciate. But probably the main reason I don't get into Christmas that much (or Easter either for that matter) is because the significance of Christ - His birth, life, words, teachings, death and resurrection - are relevant to me every day of the year, not just for a few days during a holiday season. Jesus is as important to me in July and September as He is in December. Now don't get me wrong - I'm no 'Scrooge', I have nothing against the celebration of Christmas and I'm not a member of the 'anti-Christmas' theological position, it's just that personally more and more the season is not something I really get in to anymore.

Tonight I will get to see two of my good friends who are in town, so the holiday isn't a total non-event for me. And I'll get a nice quiet day at the house tomorrow, maybe even go for a drive since the weather is supposed to be nice. But as always, I'll be glad when the world gets back to normal on January 2.

Weather Update
A check-in with the models regarding the upcoming weather pattern reveals nothing much to speak of during the next week. A low pressure system toward the weekend may bring some unsettled weather to the area, but temperatures look to be way too warm for any frozen precipitation. QPF amounts look high with this upcoming system, which may present some high water issues in isolated spots. Other than that, Christmas and the days following look to be pretty quiet.

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