As I get older, the memories of Christmases long past become more meaningful. At a time when the commercialization of the season has reached appealing and vast yet shallow levels of materialism, tapping into the simpler times of my generation is comforting. Nothing, after all, should replace the joy of Christmas.

My hope for all of us is that we don’t lose sight of what not only Christmas means, but also how desperate some people are this time of year to find comfort in friendships … the real, unconditional kind. Despite untold distractions brought on by the greed, selfishness and love of money overwhelming our culture, friendships are often times the best part of life. Without such friendships, life would likely be one filled with emptiness and fear. There isn’t enough of anything worth my friendships and I’m guessing the same is true for you.

Most of you reading this know about Scott Dorsett. He is, after all, a dear friend to many of you and someone you’ve known for a long time. Scott has been a Daily Light photojournalist since the late 70s and considered by everyone I know to be the best at it. Scott ranks as the best in my book, for sure. Ranking even higher are the contributions Scott has made in the lives of more families than I can count and in a community that needs more men like him. It’s difficult to find someone who hasn’t been on the receiving end of Scott’s magic, whether in the form of a photo or the warmth of his love. As the result of an accident 16 months ago, Scott remains in a therapeutic center learning to navigate life as best he can. What doesn’t have to be retaught though is what friendship means. Scott is as true a friend as there is and, at a time when he needs friends the most, is often more focused on what he can do for others. While the voice may be softer to hear and the words harder to understand, Scott still finds ways to share his friendship with those he loves. My wish is for Scott to be home soon and to feel the collective love of a community that not only misses him dearly but that loves him equally as dear.

Every Thursday morning I have the pleasure of spending an hour or so with someone who has become uniquely special to me. Mr. Nance is 87 years old and a loyal, longtime reader of the Daily Light. As a native Texan, married for 60 plus years, a father of three and granddad of many, a veteran of the military and a survivor of tragedy, Mr. Nance is a man with plenty to share. He’s funny, smart, insightful and passionate about things that matter. Having grown up in a far different generation than today, Mr. Nance knows the pains of poverty and what it means to be called on to support a family at an exceptionally young age. Accidently shot in the head at 11, Mr. Nance is also a miracle in motion. While the motion may have slowed a bit and the memories of childhood fading some, the story of that day is still clear in his mind. Rarely does a Thursday go by that fails to include a discussion about not just the physical damage caused by the accident, but about how the events of that tragic day changed his life, as well. It’s an extraordinary life story and one that, along with all I’ve learned from Mr. Nance, I’m honored to know. My wish is for the Thursday mornings with Mr. Nance to never end.

Your friends and mine are part of what makes this life complete. Whether at Christmas time or any other, we should be grateful for those God allows us to call friend. Scott and Mr. Nance are just two who have made an extraordinary difference in my life and I couldn’t be more thankful. As you celebrate the joys of this special time of year and the birth of the greatest friend we’ll ever have, may you be sure to tell yours just how much you care and that they have enriched your life.

So, on behalf of the Daily Light Company and a wonderful team of people, I hope all of you have a very Merry Christmas.