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Merry Christmas wishes to you all

December 25, 2011
By JANICE R. KIASKI - Community editor, Herald-Star ( , The Herald-Star

If I can't remember the date when something happened, I consult our family authority - our son Adam.

Maybe every family has someone like that, someone who is especially good at mentally recording when this or that happened, making that person an immediate resource reference.

When is so and so's birthday or anniversary, what year did we do this, how long ago did we go here or there, who said what - to Adam we go for that sort of information/confirmation.

It was last Sunday when I was trying to recall when we'd gone to Scio to experience the annual Bethlehem Walk, an outdoor drama that brings to life the night of Christ's birth through an elaborate you-were-there production sponsored by several area churches and a cast and crew of as many as 150 people.

"It was '06," Adam said without hesitation.

Five years ago? Wow.

What I remember most about that trip were two things: For starters, it was cold. Very cold. Toe numbing, freezing cold, as a matter of fact, but the weather has to be especially brutal for this outdoor production not to unfold.

Secondly, I remember how impressed I was by the effort that had to have gone into this, from the costumes to the commitment of time and energy. There were even soldiers on horseback so you know the equine presence made it extra special for yours truly.

I take my hat off to people who take time and make time during the Christmas season to remember, promote and celebrate why this Christmas season is so important, that the birth of Jesus Christ, our savior, is the greatest gift of all.

That includes the people who have made the Bethlehem Walk in Scio happen all these years and to people in Bergholz, for instance, who revived the tradition and the people of Starkdale Presbyterian Church who just had their inaugural year with a live nativity.

I know there are many others in the area, and I applaud them all.

And that's in addition to all the wonderful cantatas that are performed this time of year.

These thoughts all came to mind last Sunday as I sat in church admiring the display of poinsettias before the service began. Are they especially beautiful everywhere this year or am I just getting more sentimental as time goes by?

At work, I was really wowed by a unique poinsettia given to me by the kind members of the Gadabouts club, one of many organizations that sends its community page news to me. This particular poinsettia was red but it has beige highlights to it for lack of a better description. I'm no plant expert but the daily sight of it has really brought me a lot of enjoyment.

At our church, people are invited to buy poinsettias, having them acknowledged in the bulletin as being purchased in honor or in memory of someone.

My mother bought two, a red one and a marble one, both in memory of dad - Jay W. "Pidge" Hout - whose last Christmas with us was 1992.

Aunt Betty bought one in memory of Uncle Howard, who died on Christmas Day 1980. Thirty-one years ago today. Wow.

Our service began with the suggestion that we don't need to be in such a hurry just because the season may seem to dictate and drive such a response.

Let's take time to share and care, to laugh and love.

And to remember what's important.

Merry Christmas.

(Kiaski, a resident of Steubenville, is a staff columnist and features writer for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and community editor for the Herald-Star. She can be contacted at

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