Giving -- most important holiday theme Published Nov. 21, 2007 By Chaplain (Maj.) Ted Nickolson 301st Fighter Wing Fort Worth, TEXAS -- We are in the midst of a wonderful time of the year. With the Thanksgiving holiday passed and Christmas on the horizon, it is a time for family, fellowship and celebrations. Recently, I reacquainted myself with the history and traditions of the three national holidays we observe from November 11 through December 25. As I look at the whole of the information researched, I find some common threads. First, is the thread of appreciation. Appreciation is an expression of thankfulness and indebtedness. That's a pretty simple concept. But there is a deeper meaning that goes with that word, in the sense of having an "awareness"; a comprehension of a matter; "to have an appreciation of a situation." As you and I serve, have we taken the time to gather a deeper understanding of the level of sacrifice expressed through the lives of our predecessors, the service veterans? Maybe before we think we should be "thanked" for the duty we perform, we should share a sincere and heartfelt "thank you" with those who have served. Remember, you and I stand upon the shoulders of those who honorably wore the uniform of our country before us. Then, there is the thread of gratitude. It goes without saying, there's an abundance of things for which we should be grateful. We live in a land of relative peace with food, clothing and shelter. We have a means of earning a living. We have houses, land and the opportunity to pursue our dreams - whatever they may be. We serve in the greatest military in the world and are the defenders of freedom. There is a sovereign power that made that possible. When was the last time you and I were truly grateful? Lastly, there is the thread of compassion, hope and the promotion of goodwill. I see these as being consequences of you and me reflecting on the previous two. As a result of my appreciation and gratitude, I should respond by expending myself by compassionately seeking the well-being and best interest of those with whom I serve: contextually, that would be my commander and fellow unit members. May I suggest, each of us take a moment before this year is up to emphasize the "thanks" and the "giving" this season represents and may the best days of the 301st be fully realized as a result.