Christmas is the time we give each other presents because it's a tradition started by three wise men in Bethlehem so long ago. It is also the time for renewals as it falls right after the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. It has been said that Christ was not born in December at all but that this time was chosen to celebrate his birthday precisely because it is a time of renewal, just as his message was a renewal to those who chose to hear it.
You have given me so many presents this past year. Your choice to extend your time here on earth and endure the pain and stress of surgery after your heart cried out for help was a gift. So was your determination to work hard to rehabilitate your body and make it better and stronger than ever. But the biggest gift was your open and unbridled joy in the success of your renewal. When we lay in the sun on top of Mount Young I knew that gifts are not always wrapped with pretty bows. They are not only given at birthdays or at Christmas. The most precious gifts are often gifts of time and sharing the joy in each other's lives.
I look forward to another year of such gifts, freely exchanged between us, filled with joy and gratitude for each passing day we get to share on this earth.