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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 25, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas Page 4A — Herald-Zeitung — Sunday, December 25, 2005 FORUM Herald-Zeitung Serving Nevi’ Braunfels and Comal County since 1852. New Braunfels Zeitung was founded 1852; New Braunfels Herald was founded 1890. The two papers merged in 1957 and printed in both German and English until 1958. ■MHHI Managing Editor Jurwny Pafford Editor and Publisher Doug Toney Circulation Director Jeff Fowler Advertising Director Melee Bell Business Manager Valerie Shielde News Editor David Rupkalvia Our Opinion Merry Christmas from the Herald-Zeitung As it’s often been said — and if it wasn’t true, why would it be repeated so much? — but this is truly the most wonderful time of the year. It’s a time of joy and laughter, fellowship and brotherhood, kindness and compassion. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of gift shopping, decorating and numerous holiday get-togethers, but we all should take the time to remember some important aspects of this season. Remember your loved ones and neighbors who have lost loved ones in the past year. This can be a depressing time of year for those who lost someone dear to their hearts as they face the prospect of being without them on Christmas. Check up on them. Let them know they’re loved and that they don’t have to go through the holidays alone. Remember the families of soldiers who are stationed overseas or in the middle of a war zone. Let those keeping the home fires burning know you appreciate their strength and courage, which can be equal to that of those fighting on the front lines in the war on terror. Remember that Christmas wasn’t built upon the premise of being a time of year to purchase gifts for others. It is a holiday to remember and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, and the gifts are symbols of the gifts the Three Wise Men brought to Joseph and Mary upon Jesus’ birth. Remember that the greatest gift of all will always be love. It was 2,000 years ago as it is today. Love never goes out of style. Today in History By The Associated Press Today is Sunday, Dec. 25, the 359th day of 2005. There are six days left in the year. This is Christmas Day. The Jewish Festival of Lights, Hanukkah, begins at sunset. Today’s Highlight in History: On Dec. 25, 1818, “Silent Night” was performed for the first time, at the Church of St. Nikolaus in Oberndorff, Austria. On this date: In A.D. 336, the first recorded celebration of Christmas on Dec. 25 took place in Rome. In 1776, Gen. George Washington and his troops crossed the Delaware River for a surprise attack against Hessian forces at Trenton, N.J. In 1926, Hirohito became emperor of japan, succeeding his father, Emperor Yoshihito. (Hirohito was formally enthroned almost two years later.) GUESTCOLUMN A m •*« Play a role in God’s great epic before the curtain falls Advent to give the full scope of Jesus’ story. From nativity scenes to full-fledged theatrical presentations, the story of Christmas allows for many people to get into the act. The question that lingers in my mind today is whether I still have a part to play in the ongoing drama of Advent. The answer, believe it or not, is that the story of Christmas was written with me (and you) in mind. If we fail to take our place in the cast, the story will fail to reach its author’s designed conclusion. The Christmas story is a living epic in which humanity is both the audience and the players. While God is the star and Jesus is the central character, it is people for whom the story was written and by whom it is ultimately played out. God came to people so that people could come to God. Jesus took center stage so that audience members could move out of the seats and into the action. Sadly, too few people seem to understand their part in the drama. By failing to become part of the action, they miss out on the very reason the script was written. Limiting Christmas to annual celebrations of one pageant after another year after year misses the point of the event. For Christ’s followers, the drama of God s incarnation does not end Dec. 26. Each day of our life becomes another act in the play. The director calls the shots and blocks the stage of our lives. The thrill of being in God’s performance can neither be described nor completely recognized until it is properly seized. Watching Christmas from the cheap seats is a regrettable choice for both the audience and the director. LETTERS POLICY ■ Letters must be 250 words or less. ■The Herald-Zeitung reserves the right to edit all submissions. ■ Guest columns should be 500 words or less and must be accompanied by a photo. ■ Address and telephone number must be included so authorship can be confirmed. Mail letters to: Letters to Editor c/o Herald-Zeitung RO. Drawer 311328 New Braunfels, TX 78131-1328 Fax them to: (830) 606-3413 e-mail them to: news@herald- SENATE ■ Kay Bailey Hutchison Russell Senate Office Building Room 284 Washington, D.C. 20510 Telephone: (202) 224-5922 Fax: (202) 224-0776 Web: (Send e-mails through Web site.) SAN ANTONIO OFFICE; 145 Duncan Drive, Suite 120 San Antonio 78226 Telephone: (210) 340-2885 Fax: (210) 349-6753 ■ John Cornyn Russell Senate-Hart Room 517 Washington, D.C. 20510 Talaphona: (202) 224-2934 Fax: (202) 228-2856 Web: (Send e-mails through Web site.) AUSTIN OFFICE; 221 West Sixth St., Suite 1530 Austin 78701 Talaphona: (512) 469-6034 Fax: (512) 469-6020 SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 600 Navarro, Suite 210 San Antonio 78205 Talaphona: (210) 224-7485 Fax: (210) 224-8569 CONGRESSMAN ■ Lamar 8mith Rayburn House Office Building Room 2184 Washington, D.C. 20515 Talaphona: (202) 225-4236 Fax: (202) 225-8628 Wab addrase: (Send e-mails through Web site.) SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 1100 NE Loop 410, Suite 640 San Antonio 78209 Talaphona: (210) 821-5024 Fax: (210) 821-5947 ■ Henry Cuellar 1404 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 Talaphona: (202) 225-1640 Fax: (202) 225-1641 Wab addraaa: SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 1149 E. Commerce St., Suite 210 San Antonio 78205 Talaphona: (210) 271-2851 Fax: (210) 277-6671 Texas < Government GOVERNOR ■ Rick Perry State Capitol, Room 2S.1 RO. Box 12428 Austin 78711 Talaphona: (800) 843-5789 Fax: (512) 463-1849 ■ Carter Casteel 254 E. Mill St. New Braunfels 78130 Talaphona: (830) 627-0215 E-mail addraaa: [email protected] STATE SEN ATE ■ Jeff Wentworth 1250 NE Loop 410, Suite 720 San Antonio 78209 Talaphona: (210) 826-7800 WHILE IN AUSTIN: Talaphona: (512) 463-0125 E-mail addraaa: [email protected] ■ Judith Zaffirini RO. Box 627 Laredo 78042-0627 SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 12702Toepperwein Road #214 San Antonio 78233 Talaphona: (210) 657-0095 Fax: (210) 657-0262As the fabric of our community changes, how will we adapt? DOUGTONEY Doug Toney is editor arui publisher of the Herald-Zeitung. As we wrap up 2005, the events of the past 12 months seem overwhelming, even in a slow-motion review. The only constant seems to be change. The landscapes of our cities and county change so rapidly that each car trip is punctuated with “Is that new?” “Was that there the last time we were here?" The benchmarks we use to measure whether we live in a small town are under siege. In New Braunfels, the banda Pharmacy’s coffee shop is no more. The Hill Country Inn and restaurant also joined the past tense, among many other longtime fixtures of the town. Have you noticed how many strangers seem to be at the grocery store? I don’t mean just people you don’t know. I mean people you don’t even recognize or remember seeing before. In a town (versus a city), there is a community of people you know but don’t really know. You see them at the store, at school functions or even at church and at community events. Your paths have crossed enough times that you recognize each other and maybe even smile and nod to acknowledge that you understand that you all share the same town, together. Somehow, someway, these people who we don’t know but recognize do much to define our outer ring of personal community and personal territory. And, somehow, in an unspoken and nearly unrecognized way, how frequently we see these people and how many of these familiar people we see compared to the number of strangers we encounter during our day are really what draw the line around our sense of community. Years ago, when on a street near my cousin’s house in Houston, I drove up to a stoplight and in the car next to me was my cousin’s daughter. I honked. She was astonished. When we got to her mother’s, she jumped out of the car and this lifelong Houston resident yelled out, “Wow! That’s the first time I’ve ever been at a stoplight and looked up to see family waving from another car!” I often think about the moment when I see someone I know waiting at the same stoplight or stop sign, crossing a street or working in their yard. Whether it be in New Braunfels or battler or anywhere else in the county, we see people every day we know. But our beautiful part of the Hill Country is changing rapidly. The old rules of governing and the old rules of how to get things done in our communities, schools and county are being tested. How we all get along with each other must change some, too. As we each wrestle with what these changes mean, individually and to our families, our community’s civic and social organizations must figure out what it means to their missions and to whom they serve. In 2006, our community leaders face the task of ensuring that the organizations they lead quickly adapt and change profoundly enough to remain relevant and effective. From county and city governments to schools to nonprofits, the most important thing to watch this next year will be whether the leaders of these organizations can keep up. Will our leaders have the political and personal courage to recognize they might need to change and certainly must change their organizations if they expect to meet the new needs of a changing community? Will they hunker down in a siege mentality and fight the changes in what and who we are becoming, or will they learn to seek out a new, more inclusive way to lead so their organizations can remain effective in this very different place we still call home? Time will tell, and 2006 will be a very important year of inevitable transition for all of us who are blessed to live here. PRESIDENT ■ Georoe W. Bush 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, D.C. 20500 Perhaps I was a poor actor, or maybe opportunities were rare, but unlike others I was in only one Christmas pageant growing up. At the ripe old age of 8,1 was cast as a shepherd with no lines. As important as the role of the shepherds were in the chain of historical events, I was not thrilled to be cast in what I considered to be only a “supporting” role. When the role of Joseph opened up for reasons I cannot now recall, I was elated to take on the challenge of a character with higher billing. My one fictional line to the innkeeper was predictably lost, however, in more important and relevant dialogue. There may be no other event or holiday that encourages budding thespians like Christmas. Even Easter pageants often include aspects of TIM JUDKINS The Rev. Tim Judkins is the teaching minister at First Protestant Church in New Braunfels. ;