As I was driving home Monday night, I switched the radio to an Augusta station (sorry, Mike -- it was only long enough to get home, I promise). Across the airwaves came a song that sums up my feelings lately: "It's the most wonderful time of the year..."
And, to me, it's got little to do with the mistletoeing and everything to do with the hearts glowing. It's wonderful to see people smiling and laughing and feel your heart flutter with the season -- even if it is a fleeting sentiment that often lasts only a few weeks.
It's become a cliche to say that you wish the world could carry the Christmas spirit all year long. Columnists and pundits will use it as a holiday go-to -- a safe thought that everyone can agree with.
Fact is, we can't carry that spirit all year 'round. Too much is out of our control and there's only so much a person is willing to overlook in the interest of holiday joy.
So here's my wish for you: happiness.
Whether it's taking a little time out of your schedule to just sit and listen to your children or finding a better job or giving your heart to someone, I hope you find that happy place and can stay there.
That's something I think I've finally come to grips with. You can make all the money in the world and feel penniless. You can have all the acquaintances in the world and feel friendless. You can have all the love in the world and be enveloped in hatred.
Or you can simply choose to be happy.
Which leads me to revisiting my Christmas list.
I don't really need that new driver. That wireless internet connection is a convenience for later. The headphones and portable radio I have now are just fine.
When it comes down to it, I have all I need -- a great wife, good friends, a beautiful home, an amazing job, a loving family.
It truly is a wonderful life, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Of course, you can't wrap that and put it under the tree, but consider this my "thank you" note to McDuffie County friends and family beyond.
You've already made it a merry Christmas for me -- long before I open my first gift. Eighteen months ago, we brought you a new newspaper and asked you to put your trust in us. We're still reeling from the response -- not a day goes by that I don't run into someone who compliments our work. That's exceptionally gratifying and humbling.
And it makes anything that Santa decides to bring pale in comparison.
Merry Christmas everyone.