Episode 410: Celebrating the Spirit of Christmas from Around the World

Episode Summary

The end of December marks the arrival of one of the world’s most celebrated holidays – Christmas, commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. Regardless of our individual beliefs, Christmas is a time for cherishing one another, creating lasting memories, and sharing in each other’s joy. In this special episode, we brought together some of our beloved guests, dear friends, and kindred spirits to share their personal experiences, thoughts, and heartfelt reflections on this holiday. 

Steve Shallenberger: Welcome to the Becoming Your Best podcast wherever you may be in the world today. This is your host, Steve Shallenberger. Seven years ago, Rob and I traveled to the beautiful Island of Mauritius, which is located 2,000 miles off of the coast of East Africa in the middle of the Indian Ocean. It is part of the African Continent and one of the most successful nations and economies in that part of the world. Mauritius has a diverse population. One of the reasons they are so successful is the respect, collaboration, and celebration that they have for one another and their distinctive beliefs and faith. One of the ways that they show this respect is that they celebrate each other’s sacred holidays. This practice makes their nation closer, more understanding of one another, and more cohesive, which, in part, contributes to their long-standing success. This practice inspired much of this podcast today. As December rolls around, it is home to one of the world’s great holidays and celebrations, Christmas, recognizing the birth of Jesus Christ. It is a sacred holiday of depth, feeling, tradition, love, and meaning. 

Steve Shallenberger: As a result, we bring you a special Christmas podcast from Becoming Your Best with guests, friends of ours, from around the world sharing their feelings, thoughts, and experiences that they have had from Christmas. The comments of our wonderful guests – and hopefully this may become a Christmas tradition for us – have stirred within me so many wonderful Christmas memories. Over the last 46 years, we have enjoyed secretly leaving gifts for those that had little or none, Christmas caroling, filling Christmas stockings late at night, setting out the milk and cookies for Santa, having our children wake up at 5:00 am to try to rush us out of bed indicating Santa had come. They knew because he’d drink the milk when we had just barely gone to sleep two hours earlier. It brings back memories of assembling toys in the wee hours in the morning, enjoying family nativity performance and so much more.  These are all grand memories. With the passing of my dear wife after 46 years of marriage, what I cherish most about this time of year is that all is well. Because of Jesus, whose birth we celebrate, we rejoice in the resurrection and the fact that we will see each other again. O Holy Night, Joy to the World. Silent Night, all is calm, all is right. So, this Christmas and all in the future will be among our most special. And today is you listen in on this podcast. May you enjoy each one of these special guests from around the world. I’ll just introduce them now and then you’ll hear them again when they share their comments: Thibault Relecom from Brussels, Belgium; Melanie Gentry from Florida; Chuck Spaulding from Costa Rica; Brad Nelson from the land of the Grand Canyon, St. George, Utah; Grace Mugabekazi from Kigali, Rwanda; Rick Taylor from Anchorage, Alaska; Ron Williams raised in St. Louis, Missouri and now lives in Draper, Utah; Mark & Wendi Holland, Salt Lake City, Utah; and Alohalani Aran from Honolulu, Hawaii. 

Steve Shallenberger: We are delighted to have my friend Thibault Relecom with us today on this special program. Thibault is Partner, Administrator, and CEO of Unibra. He is the father of three beautiful children, a wonderful wife. Thibault, so grateful for you. He’s just an extraordinary person. And looking forward to having you share your special thoughts and experiences from Christmas. Welcome, Thibault. 

Thibault Relecom: Thank you, Steve. First of all, thank you so much for being such an inspiration in my life. Your book, Becoming Your Best, was what is definitely something that I have on top of my mind every single day. About Christmas, when I close my eyes – and it’s not only in December, it could be in any time of the year – and I ask myself, “What is the most important thing about it?” I would go for the word “wonder.” I’m just amazed at how wonderful everything was when I was a kid. And now that I’m the father of three children, I want to make that special event wonderful to them. I want to create the surprise. I want to see the brightness in their eyes. They are so innocent. And when they walk into the room, when you explain to them all the traditions, when you give that feel and look with the candles, with the smell and everything, it’s just the best thing that I could bring to them. So, this is for my children. But then in my company, and as I’m working in Africa, I’m having more or less 500 blue collars. And those blue collars have their children, and we bring them for that Christmas at our brewery. Every year we see those children full of innocence, so amazed about what we will provide to them with our wonderful Santa Claus, a small gift explaining the story of Christmas. And again, it always comes back to that word: wonder. And this being said, as now I’m 40 years old, I think during the last 10 years, I lost a bit of that children spirit about being amazed about things that were new to me. And therefore, I lost that wonder aspect. Now I promised myself to work more, understanding and listening myself when something was wonderful just to accept it and just to be amazed by that. 

Steve Shallenberger: Well, that’s a great comment. And thank you Thibault for joining us from Brussels, Belgium today. And his reach extends far beyond Brussels as he mentioned in Africa and really other places. So, Thibault, we wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season. 

Thibault Relecom: I wish you all a wonderful holiday season to all of you too. 

Steve Shallenberger: So delighted to have my friend, Melanie Gentry with us today. She is the President and Founder of CES, which is an HR safety, compensation, and payroll management for smaller and mid-sized companies around the United States. So, Melanie, it is a delight to have you with us. I’m so looking forward to hearing your thoughts and feelings and experiences about Christmas. 

Grace Mugabekazi: Thank you. I really appreciate and honor that you asked me to do this. There were a couple of them but the one that really came to mind was 2019 because we rolled into 2020 unbeknownst to what was happening but I had just moved to Florida, so I was brand new to Florida, brand new to a new relationship after many, many years. And this would be our first holiday Christmas time together. So, John had actually taken the boat down to Key West, early December. We had also gotten a townhouse and put a small Christmas tree in the townhouse, put Christmas lights on the boat, and a lot of the boats down in Key West and Christmas lights, so we were totally part of the scene. Our children flew in on December 26th. So, we kind of had a little bit of a delay but we had a special first Christmas with our children. And during that time, our Christmas kind of folded into the new year because we took the boat and Christmas lights and all on the 30th of December and took off for the Dry Tortugas. If you don’t know where that is, it’s about a five-hour hard drive in a 34-foot boat in the middle of nowhere. And on there, in the Dry Tortugas is a fort called Fort Jackson. And that’s all there is, except for some fish and stuff. But there’s no internet there, there are no restaurants, there are no phones, there was no Marriotts. You’re lucky to have electricity. And you’re out there with just history.  

Grace Mugabekazi: So, we explored the fort. It was a lighthouse at one time. It was built by prisoners during the Civil War. And then we had to stay an extra night because of the weather. So we were planning on coming back on the 31st. And being in the middle of civilization and crazy Key West. But our New Year turned out to be just as special as our first Christmas. And that’s why I kind of put them together. So, there we were, the six of us. We had no electricity, no phones, no internet. So, we all were just together on a 34-foot boat surrounded by Christmas lights, playing cards, we had to start conserving food. We had to start conserving energy because we had to have enough fuel to get back. But a goliath grouper came to visit us underneath our boat for half an hour. We had dolphins going off. It was just amazing. And because we didn’t have any outside distractions, it was such a good time for John and I and our children as a first time really to be together. And it was just, basically, us and God’s beauty and sunsets and you name it. So, it was just a very special protected family time, new family time in a new place and a new starting. And like I said, then we rolled into 2020. So, as we all know, who knew? But that was my special Christmas holiday recollection that I had that I wanted to share with everybody. 

Steve Shallenberger: Well, thank you for sharing, Melanie. How sweet, really. And it just goes to show that you can celebrate the spirit of Christmas and it brings you together anywhere in the world with any circumstances, you can just pause and remember it for something so special. 

Grace Mugabekazi: Exactly. I do, and I have, and I always will. It was pretty magical. The whole week was pretty magical. 

Steve Shallenberger: Well, thank you, Melanie, and happy holidays and so appreciate your friendship. 

Grace Mugabekazi: Happy holidays to you, Steve, and your family. You’ve been such a blessing to all of us at CES and also especially for me. Thank you again. 

Steve Shallenberger: We are so delighted to have Chuck Spaulding with us today, hailing from Costa Rica. Chuck is the Director of Trisan Group, which is a company that’s been in business. They’ll be celebrating 60 years in the agricultural sector, veterinarian, food technology, and water treatment. It’s quite an organization. And Chuck plays a major role within that organization. He’s also a close associate with us at Becoming Your Best. Chuck, we’re so delighted that you can be with us today to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences of Christmas. 

Chuck Spaulding: Thank you very much, Steve. And Merry Christmas to you and all of your family. I’m a big fan of what you and Rob have done. Becoming Your Best is something very special to me, as well as Christmas. When you invited me to come on, you ignited a bunch of old memories that were fun to go back to. From my mother making eggnog and me sneaking some out so that I could have some. She liked to spike it quite a bit, so that was kind of fun when I was a kid. I didn’t understand why it tasted so good, but I learned later that there was something in it. Enjoyed very much decorating the tree with my mother. I was lucky enough to spend my Christmases, my first Christmases in the early part of my life in New Hampshire in New England, and then also over in Switzerland. So, I usually had a white Christmas and really enjoyed that. And it’s funny because I’m down in Costa Rica now for the last 30-some-odd years and it doesn’t get lower than 85 degrees on Christmas Day. But I figured out a way to get around that by getting up to Utah every once in a while. Christmas is and was very special. It’s funny how it goes through the year. I remember fondly helping my mother with my brothers decorate the tree. My father never really got involved in decorating the tree, but my mother was gung ho and we had a blast doing it. I remember the smell of the pine, which was very special. My first Christmas trees actually had live candles on them. My mother was German, from Leipzig. And literally, we had live candles for the first few years. And obviously, the risks that we were taking were ridiculous. But fortunately, nothing ever really happened, in spite of all the eggnog. I remember, my mother would always get the brothers, we were three of us who would decorate the tree. And she would always give us a present before it to motivate us to decorate the tree with her.  

Chuck Spaulding: And it was insisting, sort of, that she would always give us a sweater, except she would get the three of us the exact same sweater. So, we’d be walking around with ducks on our chest for Christmas, or little balloons on our chest for Christmas. It’s just something that would crack us up and make us laugh but it created joy in our house, and that was the most important part. The joy of Christmas on their faces. You don’t have to say a word, you just have to sit back and just observe the joy and the shining in their eyes of the lights and the colors the anticipation. It’s a wonderful time of the year and we really enjoy it. 

Steve Shallenberger: We are thrilled to have our friend Dr. Brad Nelson with us today. Dr. Nelson is the founder and author of The Emotion Code. They have certified thousands of people all over the world. Have been a guest on Radio, TV, and podcasts thousands of times. He is an inspiration and a healer to people everywhere. Brad, so grateful to have you here with us today and to share your feelings, thoughts, and ideas about Christmas.  

Dr. Brad Nelson: Well, thank you so much, Steve. I really appreciate the opportunity. Christmas is my favorite time of year as it probably is for you and for so many of you. And I think that why Christmas is so wonderful is because there are several reasons I think. One reason is because we think about other people, because we have to think about other people because we’re going to be having to give them presents, so we’re going to be in trouble. So, we’re thinking about what we can do for other people. And if we spent more of the year thinking about what we could do for other people, the whole world would be a better place. I can remember from my childhood, just how magical Christmas was, what an amazing time of year it is. But I think it’s not because of the presence that we receive, it’s more the presence that we give. And really the joy that we see on the faces of those that we love when we’ve put some thought into a present and they’re really delighted with that. That’s a really fun thing. The fondest memories that I have of Christmas, really, of course, go back to my childhood, those experiences that, hopefully, most of us have, where we have those memories of joy with our parents and our siblings and the homes that we grew up in. Of course, not all of us have all those good experiences, but hopefully, most of us have those memories. So those are great memories for me.  

Dr. Brad Nelson: My other favorite memories of Christmas are the times when we would really think about what we could do to serve somebody else, to help somebody else, maybe somebody that wasn’t going to have a Christmas. And that’s something that we try to do every year. There are memories from those times when we’ve delivered some boxes of presents for kids, for example, that weren’t going to get any presence at all. It’s so incredibly touching and so moving. And that’s something that we’ve been able to get our whole family involved in at times where each person is assigned to find a toy for a child that’s a certain age. And what’s so fun about that is that it takes you out of the equation, you’re not thinking about yourself anymore about what you’re going to be getting, you’re thinking about what you can give to this other person. Those situations have been especially sweet to be able to deliver those things and just see how much joy it brings to those people. And of course, what Christmas is really all about is the ultimate gift — the gift that Christ gives to all of us — and that’s what it’s about, and remembering that at Christmas. If you don’t remember that, I think that you’re really missing the boat. If you haven’t seen The Chosen, I highly recommend that series. We’re going to be going to see that tonight. Hopefully, if it’s still on, they have a Christmas special that’s going on. And it’s the number one show in the country right now.  

Dr. Brad Nelson: The best gift I think I ever gave anybody – actually, I took three of my boys to Comic-Con a couple of years ago. That wasn’t the Christmas present. We all had costumes on, it was really fun. I had never been there before and haven’t been back since, but it was really fun. And I noticed that they spent a lot of time at this booth that had all of these lightsabers from Star Wars. So, I looked into this and I bought these three boys of mine, and they’re all in their early 20s at the time, or late teens, and I bought each one of them one of these lightsabers. And they were expensive, I mean, $400 or $500. But you know what? They’re still using those. So, if you get a person the right kind of gift, something that they really, really want; it can make a big difference. And of course, again, the gift that we have been given, I believe, by Jesus Christ is something that we can’t really even comprehend. I don’t think we’ll understand it till we pass from this life into the next one. And I think we’ll understand maybe then how big that gift is. So, those are the things I love about Christmas. 

Steve Shallenberger: I love it. Well, thanks so much, Brad. Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season. We love you and appreciate you.  

Dr. Brad Nelson: Well, right back at you, Steve. We love you guys and appreciate all the help that you’ve given us. It’s just been unmatched. Thank you. Merry Christmas. 

Steve Shallenberger: We are so delighted to have Grace Mugabekazi with us all the way from Kigali, Rwanda in East Africa. She’s the Director of Policy and Program at YouthConnekt Africa Hub. And she has one of the very best smiles of anybody I’ve ever seen in the world. Grace, we’re so excited to have you. Please share with us some of the sweet experiences or thoughts that you have about Christmas. 

Grace Mugabekazi: Thank you, Steve. I’m really delighted to join you this morning, afternoon on my side of the world. I’m joined here with my five-month-old daughter who is just as excited as I am. So, you might hear her voice as I speak. So, Christmas is a very special time for me, for my family because it’s that time of the year when we get to finally cool down a bit and have everyone gathered and get together. It’s particularly special because the meaning of Christmas itself, for us, being Christians is the celebration of the birth of Christ. We get to attend this annual nativity play and Christmas carols sessions at a local church. It’s something that my son looks forward to every year. And then around Christmas time, we celebrate by hosting family. Sometimes we host family at our house, other times we are at our parent’s house, my husband’s parent’s house or my parent’s house and we get to have everyone together. We celebrate by sharing the victories of the year, the successes and sharing meals. We get to dance and play music. We love music and dance in our family. So, those are some of the ways that we get to connect, reengage, and reenergize for the following year. 

Steve Shallenberger: Oh, that is a great share, Grace. And I’m so glad that your baby could be with us today because this is the time when we celebrate a baby. And just kind of let you know what it was probably like in this case it was front and center and such a big part of things. But such love was felt anyhow for that baby as we feel for yours. So, thank you so much, Grace, and have a good evening this evening. 

Grace Mugabekazi: You too. Thank you, Steve. Have a lovely day and greetings to everyone who will be celebrating Christmas with us this year. Have a lovely one. 

Steve Shallenberger: We are so excited to have Rick Taylor with us today. Rick is the founder, president, and CEO of Taylor Fire. Their business is providing commercial and industrial fire protection in Alaska. I love their motto, their vision, providing peace of mind for all Alaskans. Rick is not only a really great businessman but he is an inspirational person. We’re so grateful to be able to associate with him. Rick, we’re delighted to have you today. Share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences about Christmas.  

Rick Taylor: Thanks, Steve. It’s very flattering to be chatting with you today. This is something that’s near and dear to my heart, especially this year. This is interesting timing with the passing of my mother here recently. My Christmases are what they are because of her. A lot of the reason anyway. One of the things that we do. Christmas Eve is always a special time. That’s when we meet at her home, and we do two things on Christmas Eve. The first one is we go caroling. There are not many of us that are trained singers or musicians. But it’s something that she arranged, and she got us all together every single year. And it was interesting to see how our friends and neighbors reacted when we showed up. And there was a pile of us. There was usually an average of about 20 to 30 of us that would show up on people’s porches. It was a big group. And up here we have a little thing called Arctic Entries. It’s an entrance into the home that’s outside yet it’s enclosed. And so we’re kind of piled in, and mom would wiggle her little way, her little self in between all of us. And she would present a root beer and microwave popcorn, usually, just a little treat. And we’d sing Silent Night and a couple of other traditional Christmas songs, and then we would leave. And it was always a special time. So, we had a traditional route we did with particular people in our area that we always kind of did a surprise for somebody, and it was just fun. Hopefully, they enjoyed the music. We did, okay, I think. It was nice and we’re gonna carry that on this year. So, she was big on tradition. And then after we were done there, we’d finish Christmas Eve at her home and we would do the nativity. And so all the grandchildren and great-grandchildren, she would dress them up and we would have the wise man and baby Jesus, which was usually a real baby most years. And then Mary and Joseph, of course. And so Christmas Eve was a big thing in our family and still is. It’s a tradition we plan on carrying out this year, especially in Mom’s memory. 

Steve Shallenberger: Well, those evoke so many memories, the nativities seeing. Isn’t that great that you could do that and all the sweet memories and just watch your kids grow up doing that? 

Rick Taylor: Yeah. It’s a sweet, tender, and special memory. At the the time, it was kind of cumbersome to do because the kids sometimes they’re crying, or they’re grumpy, or they want to be Joseph. But you look back and then the pictures and the memories are very sweet. 

Steve Shallenberger: I remember one time we were doing that, and my brother-in-law, Tom. He was chosen to be the donkey. He needed ears. Maybe you’ve been the donkey before. Who knows. 

Rick Taylor: That’s a special duty. 

Steve Shallenberger: It is. But in order to have the donkey ears, they set up two leather gloves tied by a string, they hung down over his ears.  

Rick Taylor: We need to add more animals in nativity it seems. 

Steve Shallenberger: Thanks for mentioning those. What sweet times. And I’ll be thinking of you. And I know many of our listeners will be able to relate as you finally remember your mother this holiday season. 

Rick Taylor: Thank you. The thing that she pass along, whether it’s Christmas or other traditions through holidays, different faiths and beliefs; it’s just about being a light and a friend to those around us. And that’s what she taught us, and so that’s how we carry that on.  

Steve Shallenberger: Well, thank you so much, Rick. We really appreciate you.  

Rick Taylor: Thank you.  

Steve Shallenberger: All right. Merry Christmas to you. 

Rick Taylor: Merry Christmas to you. 

Steve Shallenberger: I am delighted to have my friend Ron Williams—seven-time Mr. Natural Universe, a pastor, an amazing individual—to share his feelings, thoughts, and ideas about this wonderful Christmas season. Ron, good to have you with us. 

Ron Williams: Thanks, Steve. It’s always awesome to be with you. And just a few thoughts that I had about Christmas is Christmas, for me, is an amazing time of year. And it represents to me the birth of Christ and his mission to save the souls of the world. But I also think of some other things such as the wise men that brought him gifts. And I think about those gifts, Steve; they brought him gold, they brought him frankincense, and a strange gift they brought him was mirth. And the reason why I say that because gold represented the precious metal that they would give kings. And so that represented the fact that Jesus was the king of kings. And then they brought him frankincense. Well, Frankincense is an incense that the priests use as they’re preparing for worship in the temple. And Jesus is also our priest. But the third one, this is the one that was strange. Now, remember that Jesus was birthed in this [30:30 inaudible], he’s a little baby, and they give me mirth. Well, mirth was what they use for embalming. It represented [30:38 inaudible] baby, something that they would use for embalming. But this also represented the death that he would die for humanity. So, all three of these gifts that they gave represented who Jesus was.  

Ron Williams: And when I think about that, sometimes we get so far off on our thoughts and our feelings and surrounding Christmas, but it represented his birthday. And on his birthday, these three gifts were very, very significant. One thing that I thought about is whenever we have a birthday, people that don’t even know us, we call them our friends on Facebook, they get this notice that says, “It’s Ron Williams’ birthday.” So, they immediately send me a little message telling me that they remembered me on my birthday when I realized that they really didn’t remember me, it was that little message that they got that told them it was my birthday. But when it comes to Jesus, how much do we remember him? And one of the things that he said to me, Paul quoted this referring to Jesus, in First Corinthians 11:23 to 25, he said it twice. He said, “When you take the communion and you eat the bread, do this in remembrance of me.” And he said, “When you drink the wine, do this in remembrance of me.” Jesus was saying, “I want you to remember me.” Wow! And so during this time of year, I try to focus. I remember him every day. But during this time of the year, I try to make sure that I put him as the center of this season. And my goal is to remember him. And not only that, but my job is to make him famous, Steve. I want to tell everybody about him. I want to make him famous. That’s what I think about Christmas. 

Steve Shallenberger: Oh, what a great message. And thanks for the reflection on the meaning of the gifts, and really the whole purpose of it. We love your spirit. So grateful to have you with us today, Ron. Have a great holiday season. 

Ron Williams: Thank you, Steve. God bless you. 

Steve Shallenberger: We are so delighted to welcome my dear friends, Mark and Wendi Holland. Mark is a close friend and associate. He’s the CEO and Chairman of Ascen Staffing. It is among the largest staffing companies in the United States, like the top 1%. They are an awesome couple. Mark and Wendi, thanks for joining us today. Share with us your Christmas experience. 

Mark Holland: Thank you, Steve. We’re just honored to be a part of this. Wendi and I were talking, we’ve done almost 30 Christmases together. Can you believe that? 30. I reflect on it. I think about the early days with young kids, the excitement, the joy, the energy, everything is fresh and new. And almost always we were surrounded by siblings and parents and grandparents, and everybody got that view from their different perspective. And it’s I kind of move along the path of all the memories. My mind keeps coming back to progression. I think about the challenges and the difficulties and the joy and the great adventures that we’ve been on through all the many Christmases. And I really think it’s the Spirit of Christ that is top of mind for me, that progression has been from our Heavenly Father. It’s from the Spirit of Christ keeping Christmas in our hearts. As we’ve been through these difficult times, keeping Christ with us has really helped us along that path in so many different ways. 

Wendi Holland: So, I like to look at Christmas through the lens of traditions. And we have many, many traditions around Christmas that start in November, a couple of them. One is going to the Nutcracker, and we’ve been busy doing this since we met. And when our kids were just little and probably before they were should have been able to go to the Nutcracker, we’d dress them up in their velvet dresses and their ties, and their hair all done up, and we’d walk through the snow to the theater and sit down in our seats and those first notes of the Nutcracker, it just brings Christmas to us every year. And we still do that same tradition. Another one that my parents started when we were children, there were nine of us sitting around the table and it was called the Shrimp Dinner. It was the best China. And we would just eat this fabulous meal. That one has morphed over the years. Now, the Shrimp Dinner is an all-day eating fest with more than 40 people. And it’s fun and family and bonding and food fights. And it’s just the most incredible day of family bonding. And that is how I see Christmas is the family, the progression of the different traditions, but always the traditions. 

Mark Holland: Yeah, well, so where are we at as we think about next year, the next five years, the next 20 years, I hope, it’s going to be one of progression, it’s going to be one of following our Savior. We’re going to marshal through the trials, we’re going to have great adventures, and we’re going to have lots of lessons along the way. And I guess when it’s all said and done, we’re going to do our very best to keep the Spirit of Christ in our hearts. 

Steve Shallenberger: Oh, thank you, Mark and Wendi. What great comments. And while you’re both talking, I started reflecting on some of the experiences we had, and my mind drifted back to when my dad… Our tradition was my dad would make oyster soup. 

Wendi Holland: My dad made the same. 

Steve Shallenberger: Oh my. What great traditions but love both of your comments. Thank you for joining us today.  

Wendi Holland: Thank you. 

Mark Holland: Thanks, Steve. It’s been an honor.  

Steve Shallenberger: We are so excited to have Alohalani Aran with us today. She is the General Manager for Premium Inc, which is a distribution company in Hawaii for hospitality actually all sectors: Hilton, Marriotts, the military. She is such a fabulous person. We’d love our association with her. She has a caring heart. Alohalani, we’re so excited to hear your feelings, and thoughts, and experiences about Christmas. Thank you for joining us. 

Alohalani Aran: Thank you, Steve, for asking me to share my thoughts today on what Christmas means to me. During the Christmas season, this is the time for reflection where the tenets of faith, hope, and charity resonate more than any other time of the year. Of course, in a perfect world, these tenets would hold true all year round, and it would hold the same importance and priority in our hearts as it does during Christmas time. But of course, Christmas, it is the time where everybody focuses on the tenets of faith, hope, and charity. And what is faith, hope, and charity if not the spirit of love? And to me, that is truly what the Christmas season is all about. The season of being thankful for what we have, sharing with our friends and families, giving to those less fortunate without any expectation of something in return. That is what Christmas means to me. 

Steve Shallenberger: Oh, I love it. That is so good. Faith, hope, and charity, which really is love. And it’s our opportunity to share that with other people. What a sweet message. And thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts today. And we wish you all the best. You are a good example of what you just talked about Alohalani. 

Alohalani Aran: Thanks, Steve. I appreciate the opportunity to share with you. 

Steve Shallenberger: Okay, thank you. We will talk with you later.  

Alohalani Aran: Take care.  

Steve Shallenberger: We are so grateful you chose to listen to this podcast. How we wish we could have heard your experiences and feelings. We are grateful for you. May you have a Merry Christmas and a wonderful, grand and safe New Year. 

Steve Shallenberger

Founder, Becoming Your Best

CEO, Executive, Corporate Trainer, and Community Leader

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