My favorite holiday season..

Wow, this year has almost come and gone.

I have to admit I love the cooler weather and getting a chance to pull out

my favorite old sweaters.

It’s a chance to over indulge in my favorite season's drink..

Southern Comfort Eggnog.

I enjoy taking in some long drives to check out the beautifully decorated

homes around the neighborhood.

But I too, find it difficult to avoid getting caught up in the commercialism.

Yet Christmas has always been a very special time for me.

As some of you know, I spent many of them away far from my family

(when I was in the military).

The one thing that was a constant, was that no matter what country

I found myself in I would always attend a midnight mass ceremony.

There were many sad but incredible memories from having attended

midnight masses overseas… from the December 24th midnight service

at an Armenian church in Achrafiyeh Lebanon, to the Bavarian and beautiful

Wieskirche in Germany, also called the Pilgrimage Church of the Scourged Saviour,

to the Melkite Greek Catholic church in Amman, Jordan.

All hold very special memories and helped me celebrate the holiday's true meaning.

It inspires a special sense of spirit that is almost difficult to explain.

My mind seems to gravitate to gratitude and generosity.

It brings serenity of mind, a peace filled and tranquil spirit and resignation in my heart.

It makes me pray that much harder for peace and the safe return of all of

our military men and women.

My spirit feels a placid warmth and quiet within.

The resignation in my heart squares up all hurt feelings and disappointments.

It’s the best gift I could ask for.

So this morning I pray that you too are gifted with a more patient understanding,

and that you be open to understanding rather than being understood.

That you will grow to be even more generous, and may goodwill guide

your every action.

I pray that we discover the essence of Christmas.

That moment by moment we grow ever more grateful for all that is good in our lives.

With a heartfelt appreciation to those that accept us even with our faults,

to each one that loves, supports and nurtures us.

This holiday season I wish you happiness, success and good health!

May this Christmas be not so much the opening of presents,

but your unwrapping of hearts.

Make it a grateful día!

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