Saturday, December 19, 2015

College Town At Christmas: Bowling Green, Ky., 2015

     Although Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Ky., (Kentucky's third largest city now) had an enrollment of 21,000 students this past fall semester in our town with a population of 65,000 or more these days, you really can't tell that things have slowed down much for us this Christmas break.
     I painstakingly made a long detour last night just to avoid heavy traffic on Campbell Lane and Nashville Road not to mention Scottsville Road and Campbell Lane where the Greenwood Mall is located.  It seems everybody and their brother were in Bowling Green last night from every small town in the 10 county area surrounding us.  Of course, we love our booming economy and the millions of dollars that are spent our college town each day but not the heavy traffic.
     But between the new Star Wars movie, cheap gas with heavy traffic, internet Christmas shopping, grocery shopping at Kroger, terrorism, the Republican debate, the gun debate, the NRA, the Obama administration, the California Muslims terrorists killers, the Paris, France, Muslims killers and the murder and rape of little seven-old Gabbi Doolin of Scottsville, Ky., this has been a very trying Christmas season so far for all us in our college town.  Finally, now it seems that citizens of Bowling Green are getting into the Christmas spirit somewhat with everything that has been going on.  We are a busy, hardworking class of people.  We are college professors, administrators, intellectuals, students, nurses, doctors, lawyers, accountants, factory workers, office workers, restaurant workers, bricklayers, construction workers, pastors, laypeople, sales peoples, service people and everyone else in between in our college town.  We have more houses and apartments being built than ever these days.  Also, old restaurants and houses on the By-Pass are being torn down to make room for new construction among other areas in town for new commercial developments.
    No, Bowling Green is not that the same college town that it used to be even since I moved here in 1988.  It has grown and changed tremendously.  For instance, Western Kentucky University's football team the "Hilltoppers" have had winning seasons these last several years. They have played more televised games than ever and they played in the Bahamas Bowl last year and they are going to play in the Miami Beach Bowl in Miami on Monday. We are proud of the major efforts and strides that the Hilltoppers have made with their football program these last several years bringing national recognition to WKU and our college town.
    However, I think the bottom line for us this Christmas season of 2015 in our college town is to try to strike a balance between the heavy traffic and our spiritual dynamics.  (No, seriously). We have to ask ourselves, "Where do we fit in this season with the big picture of Christmas?"  As a Catholic conservative, I am challenged to make choices and decisions everyday about my faith and how I judge and treat other people even though I may not like them or they may not like me.  Maybe they were not born in America.  Maybe they are not Christian and they are Muslim or another religion. Or no religion at all. That's what I am talking about this Christmas season.  Maybe it's challenging your faith and your belief system this Christmas like it's challenging mine.
     As Christians, we believe that Jesus Christ was born on Christmas Day, right?  And that's why we do everything that we do this time of the year-the hustle and bustle, Christmas shopping (internet) or shopping at the Greenwood the mall, driving in traffic (ugh), gift buying, exchanging gifts at Christmas, parties, decorations, Christmas music and food, family and spirits. But deep down in our hearts, we have to ask ourselves, "How does Jesus want us to treat our fellow human being?" Is it based on whether they are gay, straight, American, non-American, Christian or non-Christian?"  I think that's the real challenge of Christmas this year in our college town. Remember, it doesn't hurt to be cautious and be aware of suspicious activity and people.  If that's the case, please let the Bowling Green Police Department know what's going on.  But I think we have to somehow allow the light shine through us and allow the Christmas spirit glow inside us as bright as ever this Christmas even though it's been awfully dark and gloomy in the world around us. Just maybe, we can make someone else's Christmas a little brighter with even a touch of kindness and a smile. That's all. (And that doesn't mean flipping someone the bird and honking at them when they cut you off in traffic. lol.). Anyway, Merry Christmas and peace be with you my friends!