winter_morningThe holiday season has arrived in Montana, complete with enough cold weather and snow cover guaranteeing a winter Christmas.

Christmas means many different things to many of us. For families with small children, it is a time of great anticipation and includes a visit or two with Santa. Food is a big part of many Christmas traditions, and the type of food can vary greatly from family to family, state to state, region to region and nation to nation. (This year I learned that Kentucky Fried Chicken is the traditional Christmas fare in Japan.) I won’t venture any further into commercial activity other than to say that my favorite coffee shop sells a really good, seasonal Christmas brew.

Caroling remains a favorite Christmas activity throughout America. And for many, the reading of the Christmas story, sometimes through Advent as well as on Christmas day, is a tradition, as is a Christmas eve church service. In addition to reading of and remembering the gift of Christ, there are ample opportunities to be the presence of Christ by giving to less fortunate persons and to causes that are contributing to the redemption of a world too often shadowed by darkness.

Then there are the quirky Christmas traditions, of which our family has been introduced to a new chapter this year: “a kitty cat in a Christmas tree.” (This is the first ChristmasWhiskers Ch Tree 2015 Edited for our 5 month old kitten, Whiskers.)

In winter climes, sledding is common. There is enough snow in the field next to your house that our neighbors will likely be snowmobiling on Christmas day with their visiting kids and granddads.

While silent nights can be observed pre-Christmas (and on clear, moonless December nights the stars are amazing in rural Big Sky country), there is little silence in our house Christmas day, as to be expected with a 9-year old who will be overcome with joy and the sweet buzz of candy canes and sugar cookies.

From our family to yours, we wish you peace and joy of Christ this Christmas season and in the year to come.


Bruce Gourley

About Bruce Gourley

Bruce Gourley is online editor. In addition to managing Baptist Today’s web presence, Bruce is the executive director of the Baptist History and Heritage Society (, general editor of the Baptist History & Heritage Journal, editor of the Baptist Studies Bulletin, creator and author of the "Baptists and the American Civil War Project" (, and author of seven books. Bruce is also an avid hiker, owns the Yellowstone Net website (, and is an award-winning photographer ( A graduate of Mercer University (B.A.), Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div.), and Auburn University (Ph.D.), he and his family live near Bozeman, Montana.