The American observance of Christmas has many facets Ė ranging from its spiritual origins and the celebration shared by members of churches, to the secular activities involving children, businesses and various organizations.

The Military and Family Support Group has already handed out the thousands of personal items and cards contributed by area residents for men and women from here who are in military service. Volunteers throughout the region are packing small boxes with toys as part of the international Operation Christmas Child benefit headquartered here at Coggin Avenue Baptist Church. Other examples are almost endless.

The community aspect of our joint Christmas observance is gaining additional emphasis in the Brownwood area this year thanks to planning that was under way before Dec. 25, 2008, had even arrived.

The Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce has announced that skilled students at Brownwood High School and Texas State Technical College are contributing their time and talents to building holiday decorations that will be prominent during the first Christmas Under the Stars Festival downtown Dec. 4-5. The ever-popular Brownwood Jaycees lighted Christmas parade will be the focal point of Friday nightís activities, but a host of other groups and organizations will contribute to the festivities surrounding what is expected to become a community tradition for the start of the holidays.

BHS art and building trades classes, along with welding students at TSTC, are only a few of the people who are pitching in to give the community what promises to be an outstanding gift to ourselves this Christmas. And given the year that most residents have endured, itís a very welcome gift, indeed.

Brownwood Bulletin