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Merry Christmas to All

December 24, 2021
John Hairston
John Hairston

In Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol, the cantankerous main character Ebenezer Scrooge returns from his whirlwind journey through the past, present, and future to find the true meaning of Christmas. By seeing the good and not so good, he comes to know and share the peace, caring, and hope that help make this season bright.

We’ve all been on our own tumultuous trip through time this past year or two, and we’ve learned many life lessons along the way. The cities and towns we serve, our Nation, and the world have experienced tribulations unlike most of us have seen in our lives. A few of my older friends say the pandemic years are reminiscent of the nuclear threat to peace in the early 1960s, when forces beyond our control created incredible volatility and fear. Similarly, the crises, challenges, and change that seem to have defined the past two years continue to test us.

Amid the tumult, we’ve stood strong—as a company, as communities, and as a country. Yes, we’ve had to do some of the same things differently; and we’ve dealt with professional upheavals and personal losses imposed by the pandemic and complicated by politics. The pandemic economy—and the pandemic itself—continue to influence how we operate; but our company’s mission, purpose, and core values remain intact.


Strong and Bright. Despite the challenges continuing to influence life today, glowing decorations around the region signal the spirit of hope and caring that defines this special season.

Through it all, we’ve stayed the course of our own collective journey from the past to the present and toward brighter days. Now, with hope for a future filled with more light, we move ahead together, building on those lessons learned along the way to care more and make every moment count.

This year, as we celebrate the season, let’s look for and hold on to the beautiful spirit so central to this time of year. Tell those you hold dearly how much you care. Thank those who’ve been there for you all year and those who serve and sacrifice to keep us safe. Build on what you’ve learned from life’s challenges and make new memories that warm your heart for years to come.

May you and yours enjoy a happy, healthy holiday season filled with all the good things that matter. As Tiny Tim, another important persona in Dickens’ Christmastime tale, says and as the changed Ebenezer echoes, “A Merry Christmas to all; God bless us, everyone!”