The holiday season is a special time of year. We get to rejoice in God’s gift to mankind while spending time with our family and friends, enjoying traditions of holidays past and the moments and memories created with those we love. It’s also a good reminder to slow down and take stock of the blessings that surround us.
For me, many of those blessings come in the form of family – my wife, daughters, sons-in-law, and grandkids; my siblings and my dad, a World War II veteran who will turn 100 years old shortly after Christmas Day. A bounty of blessings, to be sure.
The Christmas season can also be a time capsule of sorts – both in terms of what you put in and everything you can take out. For example, this time of year often takes me back to a snow-covered Jackson Avenue in Murdo, which we’d sled down as kids. I’m reminded of all those Christmas Eve nights at my grandmother’s house and the unmistakable aroma of her lutefisk and lefse wafting through the air. And I can’t help but smile when I think of watching Brittany and Larissa perform in church and school Christmas programs through the years.
I cherish the old memories and how they’ve shaped me and our family, but I also look forward to creating new ones with my kids and grandkids, who I hope will be able to remember these moments during Christmases yet to come.
Looking back on 2019, like most years, there’s a lot for which I can be thankful. Aside from health, happiness, and my family, I’m always thankful to know that I live in the greatest country on the face of the earth. There is no other place on the planet where people enjoy the same freedom and opportunities that are afforded to the American people, and we should never forget that.
We also shouldn’t forget that our freedom comes at a cost. A big one. I’m so thankful for the men and women in our military – for their humility, honor, courage, and sacrifice. I’m also thankful for their families. Ask any service member, and they will tell you that service is a partnership, because families are just as invested as those in uniform.
In Washington, I’m continually thankful and humbled to be able to serve South Dakota and work on the issues that are important to the state. As politically divided as the country might seem right now, believe it or not, we can still work in a bipartisan way. In fact, I’m hopeful that by the end of the year, my bipartisan bill that would help protect consumers from illegal robocallers will land on the president’s desk. In a sea of disagreement, going after these scammers is one thing on which nearly everyone can agree, and for that, I hope we all can be thankful.
As the year comes to a close, I want to wish you and your family the blessings of this holiday season, and I hope you have a safe, enjoyable, and memorable time with those who you hold dear.