Merry Christmas!

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Friends, this time of the year is a special one. Most of us will have an opportunity to spend some quality time with family and friends, remember those no longer with us, reflect on the opportunities and challenges we faced in the last year, and plan for the new ones we will see in the coming year.

Many of us also celebrate the birth of a young child who as an adult would change the world with a message of hope, charity and forgiveness to all. This time of year, perhaps more than any other, reminds us that it is love and hope that powers our efforts toward feeding the hungry, healing the sick, comforting those in distress, and making the world a better place for our children. Ours is a great community, we have so much generosity and compassion as a people.

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Chrystal respects my annual tradition of watching "It's a Wonderful Life" on Christmas Eve after the kids are in bed and Santa's errands are complete, but that doesn't mean she won't give me a gentle hard time towards the end of the movie, when I get a little misty-eyed - every year! - as all of George Bailey's friends show up to remind him how rich he truly is.  That's what Christmas means to me: a time to appreciate the true value of our friends, our families, and our community; all the people that surround us that make this life so wonderful.

Let's work together this holiday season and in the coming new year to help all of our children, regardless of economic circumstances, realize their dreams. Chrystal and I, along with our children, wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.