To me, Christmas has long seemed more about giving thanks than anything else.  It’s when I look around and consider the true wealth and great fortune that have come my way.  It is definitely not about what gifts I might receive wrapped in bright paper and curly ribbons.

So I spend time reflecting on what is really important, about those who came before me and made my today possible and about those who will take up my journey once I am gone.

For reasons I know nothing about, I was blessed to be born in this country.  A place, though while far from perfect, offers the hope of freedom that most on this planet do not comprehend.  I do not live in fear that tomorrow I may not have enough to eat, or good water to drink, or a warm place to sleep.

It was the search for such freedom that long ago prompted unknown ancestors to herd onto small boats to risk a dangerous trip to a new land.  I simply can not relate to the hardships these people endured, even as recently as my own mother and daddy, that led me to Christmas Eve 2017.  I will forever give thanks to them for doing so.

I give profound thanks for the untold numbers of friends I have acquired in the last seven decades.  Many I acquired before I ever graduated high school.  We shared a special time together and therefore are forever joined.  And thanks to computers and social media, we still rejoice with one another, pray for one another, and hurt for one another.

I especially give thanks to the very special people who give their daily lives to working with children and budding teens and those who magically reach 17 and suddenly are the wisest people in the world.  Of all the vocations I know about, educators hold a very special spot.  One that, unfortunately, is too often not given the credit it truly deserves.

They touch our future each day they go to work.  They set the examples that shape values.  They comfort and cajole and encourage and hug.  Once upon a time some inner voice called them to their work.  Thank God for that.

As I write this, my little house is quiet.  No big meal graced my table at lunch.  Santa will not be coming down my chimney tonight.  My phone is silent.  It’s just me and my thoughts.

A grand time of reflection.  And for giving thanks to all those who have so richly blessed my life.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday.