It's Christmas time in the woods! I can tell by the full shopping malls, the congested traffic, and the "cha ching" of the cash registers. Well... maybe not. In fact, I can't tell any difference whatsoever. The birds are singing the same songs, the chipmunks are always going full speed, and the deer are taking the changes of weather in stride. Even the cows in the fields are chewing their cud with contentment. The thermometer may say it's cold, but there is a certain warmth outside right now. You see it in the calmness and certainty of every living creature. There is no mad rush or last-minute planning. There is only the satisfaction that every need will be supplied. Hunting always brings me back to the simple things of life. That is especially true during this time of year. It seems the greatness and beauty of the outdoors is magnified when compared to the manufactured lights of Christmas. It seems the calmness and quietness of the woods is even more calm and quieter when compared to the unnatural noises of man. Christmas is a wonderful holiday. It's an opportunity to share the greatest story ever told. It's an opportunity to be reminded of the greatest gift ever given. But it also can be a time when worry and stress keep us from really enjoying the moment. It was no coincidence there were animals at the manger of the baby Jesus. I don't know why they were there. But perhaps it is for us to be able to get outside and watch how they celebrate Christmas without all the unnecessary things that we, as humans, think we must have. Don't get me wrong. Many people bemoan the commercialization of the holiday. I am not one of those. While it may distract some from its true meaning, it also attracts some who would never otherwise hear of a swaddled Savior. Commercialization will always be around. It will be up to each of us to remove ourselves from its hold. Getting outside this time of year will help loosen its grip.