Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.

--Walt Whitman

It is that time again to look for your winter clothes and head down to Main Street where you can watch lighted floats, drink hot cider and visit old friends. Ah, where would we be without holiday pageants? Then again, many of you probably started parading earlier this fall. I, as well, became caught up in the action and took my oldest son to one of the many downtown homecoming parades.

It was exciting to watch floats, telling myself I didn't look as old as the people who graduated five years after I did, and to observe children chasing after tossed sweets. Then again, not all of the candy was thrown along the route; some was handed out by volunteering youngsters. I was taken aback when my kindergartner was passed by while the two girls on each of his sides were given the sugary goods time and time again. It seemed like the six volunteers passing out candy at three different periods thought the two girls were more deserving. Well, it is kind of expected. Doesn't most of our society teach that girls go first, except when it involves equal pay and job opportunities?

Some have asked: would it have been different if he was a different gender, a younger boy or different ethnicity? Maybe, but he wasn't. As I watched my son's facial expressions, I suddenly became more aware of my cousin who is gay and how he might feel if he was in attendance at a pro-marriage rally. He could attend and watch, but no candy for him, or in his case, legal rights. I will have to remember that the next time I march in a pro-family gathering.

Strangely enough, "it is safe to say," this won't be the last time my son has to experience human nature take its course. As his father, I hope he will be able to forgive and reconcile his experiences, including having to witness his own papa's bigotry. I pray that he will be able to forgive me with Christ's forgiveness. In order for that to happen, Christ must continue to be born and reborn in his heart. I rest assured in my son's transformation, because every December we celebrate that power and authority in the incarnational birth of the person who made it possible.

This month as you reflect on the birth, think about how our Savior is metaphorically being "born again" in and all around you. You might just see some amazing things. And when you do, be grateful, show your thankfulness ... then you will truly be showing your "Christ"-mas cheer.

May you have a blessed Christmas.

PS. Oh my, what a holy night. I just spoke with my friend Junior. For the first time, he has decided to rent one of his apartments to an African-American. Wow! After several conversations, it sounds like Christ was born again in his heart. I bet St. Pete is organizing a parade in heaven.

The Rev. Joel S. Garavaglia-Maiorano is chaplain at Hays Medical Center.