My Christmas Letter to You

Christmas is almost here!

I can’t wait to take some time off the road and spend it with my family. Christmas is always a fun time for us. We sit around the table and play games together, just like I did when I was a kid. We watch movies together, play football and basketball in my attempt to get the boys to burn off energy. On Christmas Eve, we open our stocking stuffers. Most importantly, though, we read the Bible story about Jesus’ birth and talk about why we celebrate Christmas.

As I look back on this year, I’m blown away by all that’s happened. It’s hard to believe that just a few months ago, I was putting the finishing touches on my book, Retired Inspired. And launched. In the midst of that, I was on the road speaking at dozens of events in more states than I can remember. Time didn’t stop at home, either. My boys are growing up, becoming young men before my very eyes. They’re getting older—and more expensive too!

Of the joys I’ve experienced throughout the last 12 months, nothing has excited me more than giving people hope. I’ve been so grateful for the feedback I’ve heard from people who thought it was too late for them to make positive steps toward a great retirement. People are starting to believe they can take control of their finances and their futures, and that’s rewarding to watch and hear!

It’s also cool to see what God has been teaching me. Learning to live in the present moment tops my list. (I’ve got a lot to learn, so that’s a long list!) I look at the past with gratitude and look forward to the future with hope. In the middle of those two things—remembering and anticipating—I am trying to live in the moment. I don’t want to take for granted any encounters God gives me. I want to savor moments with my family, my friends, and the people I meet.

As I’ve spent time on the road, I’ve learned two important lessons. I’ve learned the value of quality time—making the most of those moments with the family. And I’ve learned that I can’t do everything at the same time. Nobody can. If you’re like me and can be hard on yourself, I want you to give yourself a break. It’s easy to look back and see things you wish you could change. The key is to move forward smarter, wiser and more aware.

As you look forward to Christmas, I want to challenge you to spend more time with people you love and less time on things that don’t matter. I also want to challenge you to write some letters. Real letters, not emails or texts. Get out the pen and paper. Tell people what they’ve meant to your life. Say thank you. Drop the letters in the mail so they’ll land in mailboxes close to December 25.

Remember, it’s not about the food. It’s not about the gifts. It’s truly about the people. When you focus on people instead of things, the guilt of not being able to buy a bunch of stuff fades into the background and you enjoy being in each other’s presence. The presence is the real present. And remember, because of the gift of Jesus, we can enjoy God’s presence year-round!

Thank you all for your encouragement and support this year.