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Merry Christmas

Christmas Starburst


It’s that time again. The end of another (very long) year. As we have heard so many times over the years, time does seem to pass more quickly as we get older. Yet ironically, this has been a trying year for many – for many reasons. Yet I remain optimistic.

For me, this is a milestone year. After 36 years of successfully practicing estate planning and business transactions law, this will be my last full year. I will formally “retire” in the early part of 2019. It has been a good ride, and for me personally, in many ways perhaps my most enjoyable year of practice. I hope to focus the next phase of my life on more photography, travel, and learning new things.

In spite of the angst and disagreement, and in many cases, rancor, of our current times, I believe year-end, and for those of us who celebrate it – Christmas – should be a time of reflection and gratitude for the many good things we have and the people who love and support us.

I have often explained our U.S. Judicial System to frustrated “participants,” as “a system that stinks, but is still the best system in history.” I think that even for some who are feeling discouraged about our current circumstances, they might do well to reflect similarly on our country. I believe that I am very fortunate to have been born here, and to be a citizen. I have traveled a fair part of the world in recent years, and have enjoyed seeing other cultures, ways and views immensely. It is humbling and educational to observe that, in spite of the daily news of world “unrest,” there are many other cultures and ways of life in which citizens are happy, successful, and as proud of their country as we are of ours – and to realize that in the end, they are not so much different from us. I look forward to visiting more of the world over the next several years. But I am still glad that I call the U.S. my home and that I have the great privilege of living here. And I am humbled by the great sacrifices others have made to make this a place where I can live in relative freedom.

Christmas, is, of course, at its base, the celebration of the birth of Christ. In my lifetime, I have been fortunate to have been raised in a family who is tolerant of other beliefs (that is not to say many of my influences weren’t strongly opinionated 🙂 ). My parents encouraged us to learn about other religions. As a young person, I attended a Synagogue with my parents (probably not happily at the time 🙂 ), and even was invited to participate in a traditional Seder meal. I was encouraged to learn, and even took classes in high school and college on world religions. I lived in a pretty “vanilla” upper middle class community of about 20,000 people, and if there were mosques in town at the time, I was unaware – or it is likely we would have participated in that too. I hope all of that has given me at least a little bit less of a myopic view about the world and cultures. What I think all religious celebrations share is an introspection, and observation of our many blessings. And what they all certainly do not stand for is the rank commercialism that has grown over the years.

Over the past few years, My close family (the two of us and our 2 children) has “grown” away from the commercial aspect of Christmas and come to reflect more on our blessings, and the value of just having each other and being together when we can, and appreciating each other when we cannot. We don’t focus on the shopping, gift exchange, and financial aspect of a holiday which in our collective hearts we perhaps all agree has become too commercialized. We instead focus on family and activities that bring us together.

Oh yeah. The picture. I have as a “best of intentions” goal, the building of a better “Christmas” portfolio. I will be in Florida permanently by this time next year, and I know there are some pretty amazing displays in and around the Tampa area. So maybe a better post next year :-). This one, taken in 2019, was kind of experimental and I liked it then.  Looking at my small portfolio this morning, it was the one I was moved to post here.

Christmas is a time to be thankful, to keep friends and family close, and to rejoice in the many blessings we enjoy. In that spirit, Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it. And to those whose cultures, beliefs, and religions celebrate other holidays at this time of the year, I wish you my personal best, my appreciation of our differences, and my hope that we can each continue to learn about each other, share our common beliefs, and be tolerant of our differences.

Merry Christmas


2 Responses

  1. Andy: Merry Christmas to you, your family and to all. Very well said on the spirit of Christmas. You really hit the high notes of what it is all about. Wish you the very best on the next chapter of your life and the exciting aspects you will have the opportunity to explore. I’m sure you are very excited about the road ahead and “by gosh” you deserve it…

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