For Release December 19, 2004

My Christmas Wish List

by Chuck Otte, Geary County Extension Agent

It seems that everyone has a Christmas wish list. Just ask any child what they want for Christmas and you'll get a sermon an hour long. That is until that child sits down in Santa's lap! Most adults, while not willing to admit it, have wish lists also. We may ask our spouse what they want for Christmas and they will rattle off a few things, or at least we hope they do!

It wouldn't take me long to put together a list of things that I'd like that probably wouldn't happen. More hair, better eyesight and a younger body might start the list, but I probably wouldn't know what to do with any or all three of those items! So while many folks are busily making a list of material possessions, I prefer to wander off into the realm of the philosophic and sit there a while and ponder my Christmas wish list.

What I really want is for friends, family and acquaintances to be truly happy. That alone is a mighty big wish. As human beings in America, we aren't programmed or conditioned to be happy. We are programmed to want. All those advertisements on the television, radio, newspaper, Internet or magazines are all created to make us "want" something. Of course I walk a fine line here, because our society depends on capitalism. But if we separate out our true needs from our wants, I think we'd find that what we "need" is truly small compared to what we "want". It's okay to want things, but let's keep it in perspective. Maybe we just need to take a few moments to think about what we do have and how fortunate we are.

I wish for more people to be more willing to accept "different" as okay. I sense that our country, our society, has become one where everything comes down to winners or losers. There is what we consider "right" and if it doesn't fit into the category of what we think is right, meaning it is different, than it is wrong. Different isn't necessarily right or wrong, it is just different and we don't have to judge it as good or bad, right or wrong, a winner or a loser.

Just because this group or that group speaks a different language, or eats different foods or worships in a different way, does not make them "wrong". What they are doing makes perfect sense to them because of how they were raised. We need to be as willing to accept what's different about the rest of the world, as they are willing to accept us as we are. Different isn't bad or wrong, it is just different and we should relish in the differences and learn from those who are different.

I wish for an end to violence all around the world. I think back to all the people, since time immortal, that have died because someone couldn't get along with someone else. Or somebody is different and different is "bad". There may never be an end to violence, but we each owe it to each other to do our share!

Christmas is a very special time of year. And what makes it special is each and everyone of us. It's family and friends finding peace and goodwill and sharing time together. It's a time of optimism and a time of hope. Optimism for what we have and hope for the future ahead of us all. So take some time to look inside of yourself this year and find your own special meaning of Christmas, whatever that may be. Merry Christmas everyone!


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