Hello America,

Over Thanksgiving, I kicked off what I refer to as the ‘trilogy of holidays’: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. One gives us the opportunity to give thanks, the next to wipe the slate clean, and, finally, the opportunity to renew ourselves ahead of the new year.

Today, I’d like to talk to you about the real gift of Christmas: Redemption. You have been given the opportunity to put the past behind you and hit the reset button. All the baggage, all the mistakes, all the guilt – wiped clean by a servant King who humbled Himself and gave His life so that you may have it… and have it abundantly.

Behind all the madness of shopping and all the watered down messaging that is why we give at Christmas. It’s a celebration and a reminder of the free gift we’ve been given. As much as the current culture may try to ignore it, there is deep meaning behind the gift giving, generosity, and love this time of year.

If you’ve been with us for a while, you probably know that people make us handmade quilts all the time. It’s one of my family’s favorite things to receive from viewers and listeners. One of the reasons we love them so much is because it is obvious how much time, thought, and love were put into them. Time may very well be the most important gift we can give this year – especially considering how many things compete for it.

We all get so busy doing the things we’re supposed to do, the things we have to do just to keep our lives running, and, quite frankly, the things that are a complete and total waste of time. We’re so busy that we may be missing out by not giving our family the one thing they want most: Us. Take inventory on what’s eating up most of your time and ask: Is it worth it? Should I really be checking Facebook again?

Now that I am a grandfather, I think about time an awful lot. Mostly, I think about how much time I spend with my wife, my children, and my granddaughter Lorelai. I know I have dropped the ball with my kids as I get bogged down with work-related projects. It’s why I have found myself spending more and more of my free time at the ranch. It’s a chance to get away and really be with my family – far removed from the hustle and bustle of New York and Dallas.

This Christmas, as you give a gift, I urge you to ask: What is it you can really give that is important? We love the quilts because people took the time to make them and they thought about us when they made them. We try to do those things for our own kids. And it may not be the fancy one, but in the end, it will be the only present they remember.

A few years ago, I wrote the book The Christmas Sweater. It’s the story of my childhood. In the book, all Eddie wanted for Christmas was a bike. But his family couldn’t afford one. So his mom made him a sweater – made it by hand. It was a gift that he didn’t appreciate until after she was gone… long after she was gone.

Unfortunately, I didn’t figure out until I was 35-years-old what the real meaning of that sweater was; what the real meaning of Christmas is. It’s not only the birth of the baby Jesus. It’s about the death of the man and what He willingly did for you and for me.

Don’t lose sight of what’s real and what really matters this Christmas. Don’t waste another second being miserable, angry, bitter, or ashamed. You no longer have to carry that burden because Jesus carried it for you. You have been washed clean and given the opportunity to start fresh. All you have to do is accept it.

Redemption is waiting for you – so what are you waiting for?

Laus Deo,