Amidst the shopping, the food preparation, and all the arrangements that have to be made as you travel or accept guests and family, I hope that you will pause and remember the ‘reason for the season’. We are such a blessed people and nation through the saving grace of Jesus Christ! Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Working in retail has temporarily eroded some of my own beliefs about this season as we focus so much on how much to spend and what to ‘get’. I see people in a panic and people over spending constantly. The fever of it all can get to me as I am sensitive to the needs and desires of others. It hit me yesterday as the reality of what day it was truly set in. I still had all the things I wanted to do to bless my friends and neighbors, cards I had not sent, and the shopping that I wanted to do but couldn’t. It was a meltdown time. My husband in all his wisdom, brought me back to the reality of Who this season is about and how we are to give of His love and gifts EVERYDAY, not just one day or season a year. Praise God for wise and loving husbands. Matt truly is God’s gift to me. God pours His love, wisdom, and grace through this man and I am honored beyond words to be his wife.

Celebrate those around you, love them, and praise God for them! You have an opportunity to say ‘ I love you’ and to cherish them-to be with them. This is our first Christmas in Colorado and away from family. It has been a hard time. There are many memories that have come drifting back and I know that today as we celebrate together, we will reflect on all the family we miss. We are always wishing that someone could be with us as we are never all together but today we are missing ALL of you. I am, however, very grateful that I have you to love and cherish. Thank you for how you have made holidays special by your love. We also thank so many of you who have held us up by your prayers and words of encouragement during this year!

I pause for a moment and ask you to do the same for those who are overseas and even here in this country protecting us. Josh, for one, is on duty this morning in Florida. My assistant manager, Erin, has a husband, Jeremy, in Iraq. That is just a small representation of those who give so that we can continue to be the strongest nation, blessed and free, on the face of the Earth. Thank you, to all of you who serve both here in this country and abroad and to your spouses and families. The firemen and women, police officers, and all of those in the service industries as well as our troops serving all over the world. Tell them that you appreciate them. Say ‘thank you’. We love you and wish you a very Merry Christmas!