We don't have to light Grand Junction's Christmas tree in order to have Christmas, but I'm glad we do it.

Friday evening hundreds of people gathered at the Wells Fargo Bank courtyard for the annual lighting of the tree and all the lights in downtown Grand Junction. We had some great entertainment from Mesa OutLoud!, and Santa arrived to light the tree and then visited with a seemingly endless line of eager boys and girls while the strains of joyous Christmas carols filled the air.

Zane Mathews

In a world that has gone horribly wrong, the tree lighting represents everything good in the world.

Here's a group of people of diverse backgrounds, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and social status gathered together, and nobody cares about any of our differences.  At this moment, we have one commonality - we love Christmas.

Zane Mathews

There's no hate and no anger. There's no fear, no division and discord, and no malice. There is only joy and hope. There is love, peace, and anticipation.

The tree lighting ushers in a new holiday season, helping us to "forget" about the turmoil and the tragedy across the nation and around the world that we see on the evening news every single night. Though the words may be unspoken, we feel a quiet gratefulness to be living in the peacefulness western Colorado.

Zane Mathews

The boys and girls sitting on Santa's lap with beaming faces seem so innocent and naive, clueless about the condition of the world they are growing up in. For them, there's nothing to think about but hope and the promise of what they'll find under the tree on Christmas morning. Oh, to see the world through a child's eyes.

Sure, we may celebrate the Christmas season differently, in our own ways and our unique traditions, but the fact is, we are all celebrating the joy of the season. For at least one evening in Grand Junction, Colorado, we are not divided.