There was a beautiful living nativity at the Jerry and Roxanne Christensen farm south of Ringsted Wednesday night, complete with Joseph and Mary and baby Jesus and the wise men and llamas that looked a whole lot like camels and Santa Claus . . .
. . . Santa Claus? In a nativity scene?
Yes. And he had a wonderful message to tell.
Santa told everyone that it wasn't the presents that mattered on Christmas, but the gift that Jesus gave us. And there was no value anyone could put on that.
What a great way to transition from the madhouse of Christmas shopping to what Christmas really is about - Jesus and his birth.
Santa's message was directed mainly to the kids, of course, but it was one that adults could heed too.
Ironically, the holidays are the most stressful - and unfortunately, depressing - time for a lot of people. And why's that?
Probably because we've lost track of the real meaning of Christmas.
As we're looking at others around us, we wonder why they're so happy, why we can't be as joyful as they are. Why we can't give - and receive - the type of gifts they are.
Certainly, while it's wonderful to share gifts, even more important is remembering what Christmas is all about and spending it with our families.
Not everyone these days has a traditional family, of course. With nearly half of families now comprised of step-relatives, Christmas is a time when we might search for that very sense of family in our own homes.
Another big part of Christmas too, though - and one that Christ and Santa Claus would both heartily endorse - is that a family is what we make it.
A family could be an elderly couple inviting a single parent and her children over for Christmas.
A family could be Vietnam veterans sharing a bowl of soup and Christmas carols in a homeless shelter.
A family could be a trucker finding a home on the road when a truck stop waitress invites him over for Christmas Eve dinner.
A family could be soldiers in Afghanistan, warming their MRE's, hands and hearts over a fire.
A family is what you make it.
And believe this.
Wherever you find your family, there will be Christmas.