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Wishing Everyone a Merry Christmas
(Dec. 17, 2008) If you’ve read my last few "From the House" articles, you may have noticed that they have steered away from political issues and focused more on the holiday season and the things we can do to help one another. With my last article before the Christmas holiday, I want to stay with that theme rather than shifting to an issue-driven column. We’re only weeks away from the start of a new session when my reports will once again focus on the actions of the legislature and the major pieces of legislation we work on. For now, I want to continue to put aside all the political rhetoric and just wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas.

Yes, there are plenty of issues we can talk about right now, but I’m sure they pale in importance when compared to everything you’re concerned about as you prepare for Christmas next week. If you’re family is like mine, you’re still finishing up your shopping and making sure your home is in order for when family and friends arrive. It seems that for everything you check off your list, two or three more items are added and it always seems like a mad scramble right up until the night of Christmas Eve. I know all too well these are the things most Missourians are worried about today and for the next few days. And while some of the issues we face in our state require serious discussion, this is a time to put all of that aside and simply focus on enjoying the holidays with our family and friends.

Whether you are hosting the family Christmas or traveling across the country to be with loved ones, I hope you have the time to enjoy the company of those closest to you. While we never want to overlook the true meaning and significance of the Christmas holiday, it’s also the time of the year when we reconnect with our loved ones; enjoy watching the excitement in our children’s eyes as they open presents; and simply enjoy a few moments where we can put our worries aside and enjoy the many blessings we have been given. Yes, the new gadgets and toys can be nice, but Christmas is really a time to thank God for all that he has given us. While the commercialized version of Christmas sometimes clouds the holiday’s true meaning, I hope all of you will remember it is much more than just a day to give and receive gifts.

I hope this Christmas is filled with joy and warmth for you and your family. I wish you safe travels if you are visiting loved ones and wish the same for those who may be coming to stay with you. At the same time as we prepare for this greatest of holidays, I also ask us to remember there are many Missourians who are not as fortunate. They won’t have the luxury of the companionship of family and friends, a warm fire with stockings hung on the mantle, or even a simple meal. I ask you to keep them in your thoughts and prayers during this holiday season. We are all so very blessed to have the many riches that we do. Please take the time this Christmas to give thanks for all that you have regardless of how plentiful or meager it may be.

After Christmas my articles will once again shift their focus to the upcoming session and some of the key issues we will be addressing for Missouri. Until that time, on behalf of my wife Leasa, our daughter Savanna, and myself, I want to wish each of you a Very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year. God Bless each of you.

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