My family and friends keep asking me what I want for Christmas. My honest answer is that I don't want anything for Christmas. They keep poking at me, saying surely there is something I want, but no, I tell them, there is nothing I want or need for Christmas.

Here's a hard truth of life and I'm probably going to be the only one who will tell you. You spend the first half of your life accumulating stuff and you spend the second half of your life taking all that stuff to Goodwill.

I'm 65 years old and frankly, I don't need any more trips to Goodwill.

Right now, I'm learning to read e-books. I hate e-books. You can't argue with the author. You can't write notes in the margins or scratch out entire paragraphs that don't make sense. I don't read a book. I devour it and I don't leave much left when I'm through. You can't do that with an e-book. Sure, you can make notes, but you can't tell from the highlights on the e-text how intensely you agreed or disagreed with the author.

But here's what I'm dealing with. I'm 65 and while I haven't thought about retiring, everyone keeps asking when I'm going to retire. My wife has put it more succinctly: “Where are you going to put all of your books when you retire? You don't think you're going to bring all of those books into this house, do you?”

I'd love to get books for Christmas, but where would I put them?

And I have enough ties. I have fat ties, skinny ties, striped ties, and paisley ties. I have ties for every occasion. Since the pandemic, we're not wearing ties anymore. So, now I have enough ties to last me a lifetime.

I don't need anything.

So, let me tell you what I want.

I want date nights with Jeannie, my wife. I know we've been married 41 years but being with her never gets old. I want to hear her tell another joke. (She can't tell jokes and the way she messes up the joke is funnier than the joke itself.) I want to see her smile from across the table while she is sipping her coffee. I want to see her hold our grandchildren. So, how do you wrap that and put it under a tree?

I want to be with my sons. I want to watch ball games with them. I want to play golf with them. I want to hear what they're thinking, know what they're learning. I want to watch them do their impressions of me (they nail me). I want to hug them the way only a father can hug his sons. Can you put that in a Christmas stocking?

I want to hang out with my friends. I have friends who have become my brothers. I want to hear their stories one more time. I want to tell them how much better my life is because they were part of it. I want them to know that there are days I wouldn't have made it through without them calling me and telling me the world's corniest joke. Again, how do you get that in a Christmas package?

I guess what I'm telling you is that I've lived long enough to find out that the only thing that matters in life is love. Not stuff, but love -- who loves you and who you love. After all, Christmas is about love -- the love God has for us as seen in the birth of Jesus. Nothing else really matters.

When my time comes, and it will as it does for everyone, I will look back over my life and I'll miss the moments I was loved. I’ll miss the moments I loved. I'll regret the moments I didn't love more.

I won't miss anything else. My guess is you won't either.