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Monday, Aug. 29, 2016

Use the holiday time to count blessings

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Tomorrow is the first day of winter and thus, the "shortest" day of the year in terms of daylight. In my own dismal little way, it's an important day. I have a long and well-earned reputation as one who is somewhat less than delighted with the winter months. But I also recognize that starting Tuesday, each day gains a wee bit of additional daylight. That offers hope and promise to me.

I'll have to admit however that as I age, my disdain for winter actually decreases. I have come to accept the sleet and snow and hardships of the winter months if only begrudgingly. And I think it's because of this recognition that each day offers a ray of optimism with that increasing light.

Physicians will tell you that depression increases this time of year. Little daylight, the stresses of the holiday season, increased workload, etc. all combine to form a formidable issue for many people. I'm not ashamed to put myself in that category. As a golfer of sorts, this time of year is just a miserable waiting period until you know when.

Isn't it interesting the amount of pressure we put on ourselves this time of year. I won't even discuss the commercialization of Christmas because that's a well-worn theme. And yet we're all guilty. I actually tried this year to get a jump on Christmas shopping instead of my traditional Christmas Eve mad rush through the stores. But alas, I fell woefully short of being successful, thus, the next two days will offer challenges for me and countless others who have waited far too long. The pickin's will probably be somewhat thin.

The weatherman says not to expect a white Christmas this year. I can accept that. I'm always the practical one. Snow is indeed a beautiful sight but I understand the inconvenience and driving hazards that result from winter weather and so I try to balance the beauty with the beast. I won't shed a tear over a clear, crisp Christmas morn. Sorry kids, you'll grow older and understand perhaps someday.

I hope and pray that we'll all take time this special week to count our blessings as we're told to do. I will. I'll also find those pangs of sadness for mistakes made, feelings hurt and tasks left unaccomplished. And then, in just another short week, we'll face a new year and the opportunity to start anew. I love that concept.

For years now, the week between Christmas and New Year has given me a chance to clear out the old files that will never be seen, to put things in order as best I can and to face a new year with a somewhat clean slate. Maybe it's just in my mind but at least it gives me that final chance to resolve to make those changes and challenge those tasks that I've ignored the past year. It may be more symbolic than real. But it helps.

We at the newspaper wish you and your family the best of holiday seasons. Life is what we make it.

Merry Christmas.

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