I don't know about you, but I'm glad Christmas is here.
All great Christmas movies, holiday coffee specials, quirky decorations and gift exchanges aside, Christmas is a time I realize just where I am and how things have changed since the Christmas before.
As a Christian, this holiday means a lot more to me than presents or even great food. As I've gotten older, I've thought increasingly more about how much I have to be thankful for and how I can express my gratitude.
Giving comes in many different sizes and packages. It may mean finding that handy present for someone who really needs it, or bestowing a funny gift to someone who has more than enough. But I've also learned that giving my time, where I may not always feel I have something to give monetarily, can be worth quite a bit.
I think of a relatively small amount of time my fellow Patchers and I spent at the St. Louis Crisis Nursery in St. Charles just last month. It was a blessing to help out the organization and set things up for the holidays, and also to spend some time playing with a little girl who was there for the day. These things like food, shelter and clothing we're taught in school are called "needs" most often are readily available to us in abundance. But the care that comes with it is even more important.
Sparing a portion of my day to volunteer and show some love to people actually meant more to me than receiving that new movie I thought I needed on Blu-Ray.
As we are all trying to figure out why things happen the way they do and why people do terrible things, I'm constantly trying to remind myself of ways I can avoid causing them. Christmas -- in my family, my friends and what I believe -- is the Post-It-note-to-the-forehead reminder each year to be less selfish, push for others a little more and to always, no matter what, be thankful.
Whether you believe in Jesus Christ, Santa Claus, don't celebrate Christmas, or just observe it, I'm sending my best wishes to you. Hearing your positive stories, seeing people help each other, and engaging in our Patch communities are what I really love about being a Patch editor.
I love the "good" stories -- here's to causing them.