Havre Daily News - News you can use

By Tim Leeds 

Christmas spirit again shines through


December 24, 2018

As this happens every year, by now I should be expecting it — or just keep my mood happy in anticipation.

Once again, I let the spirit of the season escape me.

I was at work Friday, using another person’s workspace because my computer’s hard drive crashed the Friday before. I lost everything on the computer and had to invade George Ferguson’s spot to get my work done, something I hate both because I don’t like invading someone else’s space and because folders and applications and everything else are set up differently than I am used to. I am not going to reconfigure someone else’s computer for my convenience and their detriment.

That included having to go to a remote source to access my emails, which causes me all kinds of problems. More on that later.

So, there I was, grumpy about my computer, grumpy about little problems in getting the paper out, grumpy about having to deal with my co-workers and members of the community, grumpy about planning and creating that day’s and the next week’s papers, ready to make Ebenezer Scrooge at the beginning of “A Christmas Carol” look like Father Christmas.

Then, in walks the Havre High School select choral group The Hi-Liters.

I wondered what they were doing in the Havre Daily instead of being on their tour to area schools, the long-term care center and so on, to sing Christmas carols.

The next thing I know, I am listening to exquisite a cappella renditions of carols, starting with “Silent Night” and finishing with “Carol of the Bells.”

The same day, Chris Doll came in to talk to me. I can’t remember if this was before or after the Hi-Liters came in. He was concerned that a press release his daughter emailed hadn’t run and he wanted to make sure I received it.

I had, but with my computer and email problems I had missed it.

Doll was hoping the information would hit the paper before Sunday, because it tied into this week’s focus of Advent.

Doll and local friends and family members joined his brother-in-law John Pogachar of Spokane, Washington, in a goal to put billboards up in cities around the country and even into other countries. Havre is now one of nine towns in five states with billboards displaying just one word, “Love.”

I told Doll that I would try to get something in, but as I had missed the press release it would be tough to get it in before Monday.

Doll said it would be nice to get it in Friday, because Sunday started the fourth week of Advent, the week of Love, following the weeks of Hope, Peace and Joy.

The intrepid Ryan Berry was able to bring in a photograph in time — not that easy to do, with the printing deadlines we face every morning, thanks, Ryan — and we ran the story.

And those incidents made me think.

Forget the high level of talent and training the Hi-Liters use as they carol throughout the town. I realized it is kind of amazing that a bunch of high school students are willing to take two days to go around the community singing for no other reason than to spread Christmas cheer.

It is amazing that people are willing to invest their money in billboards just to spread a message of peace and love.

As the day went on, the Hi-Liters and the love billboard inspired me, with “Carol of the Bells” running through my head. And I realized I already had been seeing — and always see through the entire year — but had not noticed people showing the spirit of love, peace, joy and hope.

It might be elementary students raising thousands of dollars in food and gifts for soldiers overseas and for local people who are in need. It might be people donating their time, ringing a bell and smiling at people — often in a chilly or downright cold location — to entice people to donate to help The Salvation Army help people through the year.

It might be a person helping someone whose car is broken down, or it might be something as simple as someone saying, “Merry Christmas,” or someone holding the door open for someone else for no reason other than to be kind, to try to make someone happy.

Every year, when I am at my lowest, people once again show me that the spirit of Christmas is alive and lives throughout the year.

I wish a merry Christmas and happy holidays to all.


Tim Leeds is managing editor of the Havre Daily News


Online: Havre Daily News: “Billboard spreads message of love in Havre” https://www.havredailynews.com/story/2018/12/21/local/billboard-spreads-message-of-love-in-havre/521838.html/.


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