Give the gift of time with loved ones this holiday season

  • Published
  • By Maj. Trent C. Davis
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing chaplain
What makes the holiday season our very favorite time of the year? Is it the lights, decorations, parties, cards, gifts and Air Education and Training Command Family Days? No, I believe it is a miracle born anew each year. A miraculous transformation that takes place in all of us that elicits peace and goodwill to all mankind. What other time of the year do you find people gathered in stores all across the country purchasing items not for themselves but for others? It is this spirit of giving and expectation that makes it unlike any other time of the year. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or simply the holidays, I hope that you will experience all the joy that this season has to offer.

My wife and I begin each Christmas season as early as possible. Our tree is decorated prior to Thanksgiving, the interior of our home is decked out with all things Christmas, and classic Christmas carols play nightly in our home. However for us, Christmas joy is less about the gifts and more about the givers. Our focus each year is more and more on the precious moments with our family that are sure to last a lifetime. Two deployments were enough to remind us to make the most of every holiday season.

This past week, as I listened to one my favorite Christmas carols, "What child is this?" I was reminded of a tragic life lesson learned long ago by Billy Graham. Arguably, the most charismatic and dynamic speaker of his day, Graham recalled the 1949 Los Angeles crusade as the turning point of his ministry. It is what made him a household name and it is the event that propelled him to national prominence.

However, the eight weeks of meetings and months of preparation for the citywide event took a personal toll on his family. Toward the end of the crusade, his wife's sister and brother-in-law, the Montgomery's, passed through the hotel lobby carrying a baby. Graham noticed the beautiful baby girl in their arms and asked "whose child is this?" Horrified, he was informed that it was his own daughter, Anne.

Sadly, this life lesson is not so alien to any of us. Graham made a commitment that day to change his schedule despite his ever increasing demands. No longer would his family take a backseat.

I wonder if we have family members at home who feel like they take a backseat to the demands of our job or the military. This holiday season give them the gift that truly keeps on giving - you! Give your spouse the most precious gift you have to offer, your time. Hire a babysitter and take your spouse out on a date. Give your children a gift they don't expect. Play a game together, take them to a movie or go on a family adventure. As you do, I believe something simply miraculous may occur, your heart will be filled with joy as your family is filled with love.

May God richly bless you and yours this holiday season.