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5 Senses of Christmas: Day One -- Christmas looks like a pine tree, Nativity scene

Christmas looks like magic as rainbows of twinkling lights brighten the darkest time of year and cascading snowflakes paint the landscape a dazzling, iridescent white.

Christmas looks like magic as rainbows of twinkling lights brighten the darkest time of year and cascading snowflakes paint the landscape a dazzling, iridescent white.

Christmas is houses aglow in incandescent radiance that is both joyous and gaudy. It is a glowing lamp shaped like a woman's leg viewed through a front-porch window and a 60-inch lighted snowman that leans on a candy cane waving at passers-by.

Christmas is a pine tree filled with family memories hanging as a great-grandmother's beaded ice-skate and a 4-year-old's painted snowflake.

It is a ceramic Nativity scene passed from one generation to another. One sheep is missing, the camel lost an ear, and the angel's wings are chipped, but the tiny baby Jesus still looks like peace itself sleeping in his manger.

Christmas looks like pretzels drizzled in chocolate, peanut butter cookies with Hershey's Kisses on top, and gingerbread men frosted white and covered in green and red sprinkles.

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Christmas is the fear in a child's eyes as he waits to whisper his wishes into the ear of a big-bellied, white-haired stranger. But it is also the awe on his face as he grips his candy cane and steals a last glance over his shoulder at Santa Claus.

Christmas has come to look like consumerism, with shoppers trampling each other to get the last game system and packages spewing forth from stockings and tinsel-draped trees while credit card balances climb out of control.

But it is also a shoebox full of gifts wrapped for a stranger, the smile on a child's face as she hugs her new stuffed lion, a husband's boyish glee as he bowls a strike on his new Nintendo Wii, and a wife's loving smile as she unwraps the necklace she's been eyeing.

Above all, Christmas looks like hope in the form of flickering candles lifted overhead as friends and strangers stand shoulder to shoulder singing "Silent Night."

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526

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