This is the toughest week of the year to write an article. Thankfully, the election is over and the market has been rallying, but this is the one week of the year when industry topics or opinion pieces seem contrite and a little shallow.
But then again, writing about God, family and love isn’t the easiest thing for a cattleman, either. I hate to admit it, because I abhor political correctness and its negative ramifications, but I get a little nervous talking about Christmas with too much of a religious overtone. I don't want to offend anyone, but it isn't the fear of offense that inhibits me. I hesitate when it comes to talking about the real meaning of Christmas for two reasons; one, I’m not a biblical scholar and two, that I’m such a deeply flawed person that I worry that I might jeopardize someone’s relationship with God simply because of my own mistakes and flawed example.
I also know that those thoughts are not put there by God or even political correctness, but by the one who would love for Christmas to be only about presents, material things and Santa Claus. Don’t get me wrong, though, I really like Santa Claus.
Even talking about love and family gives me pause. Perhaps that’s because I could have been, I should have been, a better father, a better husband, a better son, a better brother, a better friend, a better business partner so many times.
But that is really what makes Christmas special. Christmas doesn’t ignore our sins, our imperfections or our mistakes. But it does, in a way, confirm the power of love and forgiveness. God knew who we were but he still sent his son into this world, knowing the pain, rejection and suffering he would incur just so we might have a personal relationship with him.
Our families know our faults and our weaknesses better than anybody, yet they love us anyway. Our relationships with God, with family and friends are not weaker because they require forgiveness, but strengthened by that very fact. Love and acceptance by those who know you best is foundation for happiness and doing great things. It is that knowledge of their love and support, coupled with your desire to honor them, that inspires us to be the best version of ourselves.
Our family has a little tradition of reading the story titled the Christmas Rife, written by Rian Anderson, every Christmas. It really helps me to get myself in the Christmas spirit, and while I have read the story now probably 50 times, every time I do, I can’t help but get teary-eyed. In fact, we pass the story around and let the kids read it because I can’t read it aloud with getting choked up. I thought I would share that tradition with all of you so we posted the whole story for you. CLICK HERE TO READ IT.
We are so fortunate to be Americans, to be involved in agriculture. I’m sure everyone who reads this would be considered one of the most fortunate people on the earth by just about any measure. While those blessings are wonderful, the family living in poverty, without freedom, without hope and opportunity but whom love each other and have a growing relationship with God, have no reason for envy. Perhaps it is us who should be envious because when they gather to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, it may be that they don’t have near the distractions we do.
May you have a glorious Christmas holiday with family and friends, and may you take the joy of the season with you throughout the year. Markets, elections and Mother Nature will always deliver their share of surprises. But in the end, it is the relationships with God, family and friends that ultimately determine the value of one’s life. Christmas reminds us of that simple fact.
I’d like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year!