( Graphic by The Packer staff )

Editor’s note: The following editorial, written by former Washington, D.C., editor and columnist Larry Waterfield, first appeared in The Packer in 1989. It has appeared in every Christmas edition since then.

This is the season of dark, cold and drabness in much of the country. But it also is the season of hope, renewal and joy.

We say joy as opposed to happiness, which one pursues. Joy might be defined as an unexpected moment of happiness.

Joy may appear in this season of snows and winds.

It’s also the season of mists and mysteries: the mystery of spirituality that intrudes for a moment in our world devoted to, in the words of Wordsworth, “getting and spending.”

It’s a season of contrasts and contradictions: bright, colored lights in the darkness, a charitable impulse in a selfish age, God in a stable.

It’s a season of memories and reflection. It’s a time for adding up, taking stock, for looking inside and looking ahead.

It’s a season of stories and parables that outlast the flux of headlines and blaring broadcasts.

For those who grow and provide food for the world, the stories and parables are meaningful indeed. People, in fact, are known by the fruits they produce.

The harvest is plentiful but the workers few, and not all seeds take root and flourish.

There truly is a season for all things under heaven. But more than anything else, it is a season of hope.

The days are shortest now, but soon they will lengthen, and seed and plant will stir again to new life.

It was in this season that hope was born into the world.

The remarkable thing is that not even the tinsel and the gush of materialism can drown out that hope.

Good ideas don’t die; they turn up again, even in the midst of winter.