On behalf of everyone here at the Daily Light, we want to take this opportunity to wish you all a most joyous Christmas holiday.

Family is very important to us at the paper, and as we put the finishing touches on our Christmas edition, we are trying to “clear the decks” as best we can to allow our staff the chance to spend the holiday with friends and family.

We all are looking forward to spending Christmas day with our families. There is still so much to do — last minute shopping, cooking, getting the house ready for the guests we can’t wait to see and share in one of the most cherished holidays of the year. I have to admit, the adjustment to being an empty-nester hasn’t been an easy one for me, and I am very much looking forward to seeing all three of our children and spending time together again.

Indeed, the Christmas season is a blessed time of year. If only there was a way to extend the spirit of Christmas throughout the entire year, imagine what it would be like if joy, goodwill and peace were at the center of our thoughts and actions every day — especially being able to interact with one another with dignity, respect and appreciation. Again this year, that is my Christmas wish.

We have so many blessings to be thankful for. While 2012 has been a year of ups and downs, it has shown signs that our economy is slowly recovering. Still, there is too much uncertainty going on in our country, and in the world that we live in.

Certainly, our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the families of Newton, Conn., as they struggle with a horrific tragedy that is truly uncomprehensable. We pray that God hold continue to hold them in the palm of his hand.

We also pray for guidance for our leaders so they may work together in finding solutions to the many problems facing our nation.

And as a sign of the many blessings that surround us, we also know the true spirit of why we celebrate the holiday can be seen in our deeds and words.

For the past few months, many of our neighbors have been working hand-in-hand with our area nonprofits to ensure those who are hungry have food and that every child, regardless of their financial situation, has at least one gift to open on Christmas morning.

In the spirit of Christmas, we are all family.

That’s one of the many things that makes Ellis County a special place. Living here is like having one great big extended family. When there is a need, we always seem to rise to the occasion and find a way to help — whether through a major fundraiser or old-fashioned barn-raising work crew or bringing a dish to pass or extending our blessings through prayer.

Growing up an Army brat, I’ve lived all over the world without really ever putting down any roots — until moving here in 1997. When people ask me why I chose to settle in Ellis County, my answer is short and never wavering. “Here, you’re among friends.”

There are so many things to be thankful for. Part of the joy of our job is to share those wonderful stories in the pages of this newspaper. We know that it is a privilege to be invited into your homes. We work hard to ensure your trust in our ability to “shine the Light on Ellis County” is not only well founded, but earned on a daily basis. While we win a lot of awards, what matters most to us are the bonds we share with all of you.

Our readers are family and we want our family to be proud of what we do. As we put the finishing touches on our Christmas edition, we again extend our heartfelt Christmas wishes to all of you. May the joy of the season fill your heart year round.

Neal White is the Editor of Waxahachie Newspapers Inc. Contact Neal at neal.white@wninews.com or 469-517-1457. Follow Neal on Facebook at Neal White – Waxahachie Newspapers Inc., or on Twitter at wni_nwhite.