My View From The Country

Tis The Season!

For cattlemen, there are a whole lot of seasons—calving season, tax season, hay season, and the list goes on. But there is something special about the Christmas Season.

For cattlemen, there are a whole lot of seasons—calving season, tax season, hay season, and the list goes on. But there is something special about this time of year. I have to begin by admitting I haven’t really caught the holiday spirit. I haven’t watched “It’s a Wonderful Life” yet. Instead, I’ve been focused on mundane things like cash flow, deliveries, bills, frozen pipes and just trying to get a whole lot of stuff done before the end of the year.

However, the kids just got off the bus and they are out of school for the holidays, so I know it is time to get myself focused on what is truly important. I’m not sure what my parents did, or even if they really worked at it, but Christmas was always a really special time. The New Year and new beginnings, family, fun, focusing on priorities, all came together and somehow, it was a truly magical time—building a lot of memories that I will always carry with me. I remember fondly the candlelight services, the glow of singing “Silent Night,” and understanding the significance of the season.

And here I sit, staring at a keyboard with that overwhelming feeling of having too much to do; so much, in fact, that I don’t know where to begin. All I have to do is look at my kids or pick up a Bible to intellectually know the meaning of the season, but I look away and it vanishes into the reality of the world I have created.

Perhaps it is regret, maybe it is just a longing for more, but it is obvious that this cloud that I have allowed to pervade me is in many ways the exact opposite of Christmas and the spirit of the holidays, and this Christmas for me has become largely about vanquishing that cloud. The reality is that pouring a glass of eggnog, singing a carol, spending time with the children, or remembering the Christmas story are fleeting moments, and that the meaning of Christmas is really something much more substantial.

I always thought of Christmas as a time to give, and giving of oneself certainly is part of the equation. Maybe it is more about receiving or learning to accept gifts that one has not earned. I’m not sure I have really expressed to my kids, my wife, my family, my friends, my savior how thankful and how grateful I am for all they have given me. Perhaps it is this feeling that I have not been faithful in returning these gifts that has made it difficult to get into the holiday spirit.

So I will start focusing on being grateful and gracious for what I have been given, and doing my best to give with the same spirit, in all that I do. Work may not be a requisite to get to heaven, but giving and receiving in the right spirit sure makes life special. Here’s hoping the season is truly special and will make lasting memories for you and yours. The hustle and bustle of life will likely never cease, and perhaps this isn’t a time for reprieve, but instead a time to remember what it is we are truly striving for and to rededicate ourselves to making it happen. My prayer is that all of that hustle and bustle will be accompanied with the passion and hope of the Christmas spirit all year long.

Merry Christmas and God Bless!

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What's My View From The Country?

As a fulltime rancher, opinion contributor Troy Marshall brings a unique perspective on how consumer and political trends affect livestock production.

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Troy Marshall

Troy Marshall is a multi-generational rancher who grew up in Wheatland, WY, and obtained an Equine Science/Animal Science degree from Colorado State University where he competed on both the livestock...

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