We are reminded this time of year to consider the reason for the season.

We are reminded this time of year to consider the reason for the season. If you stepped outside this last week to gaze at the vault of heaven, you need no reminder of the wonderful miracle in our world.

It didn’t make me happy at 3 a.m. last week to respond to my canine roommate’s needs to open the door for her to check on what was going on outside. To quote “The Night Before Christmas” poem… “To what to  my wondering eyes should  appear…” I was startled, amazed, impressed, and speechless when I surveyed the wonder of the nighttime skies over McDonald County. Was my little dog aware of what she brought to my life at that time? It wasn’t luck, I’m certain.
When I lived in California our skies were frequently polluted but here, in southwest Missouri, in McDonald County, that isn’t a problem and, like so many things, it’s something we frequently take for granted.  The clear streams, the clean air, and, on this particular early morning, blessed uninterrupted silence.  We take so many things for granted only to reminisce later at their beauty, at their exception.

When my nieces and nephews were little Christmas was a special time for me when their parents loaned them to me and we Christmas shopped. We weren’t shopping for ourselves but for their parents, their siblings, their friends. Five decades later some remind me of those special times. If you have the opportunity, I would recommend it. Do you agree with me that the focus seems to be for most little ones, what do I want for Christmas is excessive? I am convinced that for Billy and Christine and Chris and Happy, when they were 5, 6, 8 years old their delight in choosing that special gift for a loved one far outweighed the pleasure they received in writing to Santa of their “needs.”  You won’t have to get a bank loan, all you need is a few dollars and time. Try it, you’ll like it, I assure you. There is time before that special night. Instead of pondering what “Toys R Us” has to offer your little one, instead, encourage them to think about giving – Two old, but still good phrases to consider are: Do Unto Others As you Would Have Them Do Unto You and It Is Better To Give Than to Receive. Borrow a child, spend some time shopping with them and encourage them to focus on what they can give. The happiness inspired by just a couple of hours will multiply, the memory will last far beyond this Christmas season.

If you find yourself in Pineville on a Saturday you might want to drop in at the grand old courthouse on the square and check out the progress brought about this past year. We had a visit on 12/12/12 when Sen. Roy Blunt dropped in and was brought up to all the accomplishments over the past year, all the plans for the future. Thank you, Sen. Blunt, it was our pleasure to share with you and Rep. Bill Lant the goings on here in McDonald County Historical Society. Anyone interested in local history, anyone who has memories they would like saved for posterity, we can be reached at McDonald County Historical Society, P.O. Box 572, Pineville, Mo., 64856. Calendars are still available, (a great Christmas gift depicting churches in our history, only $8) check at city hall in Pineville, at the Mustang Pharmacy in Anderson or the Chamber of Commerce on Harmon Street, just south of the U.S. Post Office in Pineville. Go to www.mcdonaldcohistory.org for more information – and don’t forget, find a child and give him the greatest gift, that of giving. And remember, the reason for the season, doesn’t cost a thing to just look up.

Alberta Anders writes a weekly column for the Daily News.