The Holiday Season: A Time for Celebration, Gratitude, and Reflection

For me, Christmas is a time of celebration, gratitude, and reflection.

As a man of faith, I celebrate the birth of Christ. I celebrate the values by which he lived. And I celebrate the abundant spirit of compassion for the less fortunate that is ever-present during this season.
As I connect with family, I can’t help but give thanks for the blessings bestowed upon us, including good health and daily provision. I am also grateful for the opportunity to exchange gifts with family and friends as tangible expressions of love and appreciation for one another. And I’m very thankful for the generous helpings of collard greens, ham, dressing, and macaroni and cheese that I’ll find on my parents’ dinner table.
Finally, as I mark the end of the year, this season provides me with a chance to reflect. I reflect on the accomplishments and challenges of the previous year. I also reflect on how I can offer hope, and encouragement to any who may need it in this season.

At this year's White House Christmas tree lighting ceremony President Obama shared his thoughts, "The holidays offer us a time for reflection and we celebrate the birth of our Savior, as we retell the story of weary travelers, a star, shepherds, Magi, I hope that we also focus ourselves on the message that this child brought to this Earth some 2,000 years ago -- a message that says we have to be our brother’s keepers, our sister’s keepers; that we have to reach out to each other, to forgive each other. To let the light of our good deeds shine for all. To care for the sick, and the hungry, and the downtrodden. And of course, to love one another, even our enemies, and treat one another the way we would want to be treated ourselves.”

The President continued, “It’s a message that grounds not just my family’s Christian faith but that of Jewish Americans, Muslim Americans, non-believers -- Americans of all backgrounds. It’s a message of unity and a message of decency and a message of hope that never goes out of style.”

I echo this sentiment. This time of year truly represents an opportunity for all of us to find ways to reach out to one another. From my family to yours, I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy holiday season. I hope that as we enter a new year, we all continue to let the holiday spirit shine and influence all we do.

About the Author: Aaron Bruce serves as a Public Affairs Specialist in the State Department’s Office of Digital Engagement.

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Eric J.
New Mexico, USA
December 24, 2016
Happy Holi-daze to everyone @ Dipnote & @ State !!!
A Christmas tree is seen in the main hall of a department store in Paris. [AP Photo]
Posted by Aaron C. Bruce
December 23, 2016


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