Brown County residents have created a variety of special occasions where members of the community can gather and celebrate the Christmas holidays. Several of them were observed the weekend of Dec. 4-5, when the first Christmas Under the Stars Festival was held and the lighted Christmas parade marched through downtown.

    Bangs and Zephyr residents celebrated with their Christmas parades last weekend. And many churches in the area present cantatas and other sacred programs, and businesses and organizations also have their traditional celebrations.

    For a growing number of residents, it’s not officially the holidays until they hear at least a portion of George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah.” For those, as well as others who may not have heard the masterpiece before, that opportunity arrives tonight.

    A community chorus will join four soloists in a performance of the Christmas portion of the epic work along with the concluding “Hallelujah” chorus. The concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. at Union Presbyterian Church, and admission is free.

    In the past eight years, this has become an annual tradition for the Lyric Performing Arts Company, and the performance has taken its place as an important event in the Christmas season for the performers as well as members of the audience.

    It’s a busy time of the year for everyone. Perhaps hectic is a more fitting adjective. But programs such as “Messiah” provide a time for the community to pause and reflect in the glory of the Christmas message — something many believe is sorely lacking in too many of the traditions that have developed around the season.

Brownwood Bulletin