WISHING YOU A HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON
December 16, 2005
The Holiday Season is well underway: there are lights on our neighbors' window sills, wreaths hanging from city street lights, children are lining up in local shopping centers for a picture with Santa, and there are lists of family and friends to shop for. This time of year can seem so hectic and can quickly pass us by as we rush from task to task attempting to pack in so much in a short amount of time. It is often in this hustle and bustle that the true meaning of Christmas is sometimes forgotten or overlooked.
This is a blessed season marked by the company of family, of youthful anticipation, and the hope of waking up to a wintry white wonderland of snow. It is a season so rooted in traditions and celebrations of all kinds. It is difficult to imagine living in a country where you could not freely practice your faith or where you must celebrate religious holidays in private in fear of imprisonment or more severe punishment. We are indeed blessed to live in a nation where we can enjoy so many freedoms, but these liberties do not come without a price.
We continue to enjoy these freedoms on a daily basis thanks to the brave servicemen and women who guard our homeland and help spread democracy around the world. This Holiday Season many of our military personnel may find themselves far from the comforts of their homes and their families. Whether they are on an aircraft carrier in a storm tossed seas, keeping the peace amid hostile resistance, working on our military bases often in remote places around the world, their work is difficult, lonely, and often very dangerous. While they are often under appreciated, and seldom recognized, theirs is a service marked by humility and deep dedication to preserving the ideals of our nation that make the very celebration of this season possible.
Those in active service are not the only ones who sacrifice. Family and friends here at home may find themselves with an empty chair at the dining room table and deeply miss having their family all together on the holidays.
As we spend the next several weeks sharing the Holiday Season with our families and friends, let us reflect on the great blessings that God has bestowed upon our nation. We should also pause to remember the sacrifices of all of those who strive to make this nation a better place to live - especially those brave men and women defending our freedoms far from home. I wish them, and all of you, from my family to yours, a joyous Holiday season, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.