Sen. Holly Thompson Rehder’s Legislative Column for Dec. 16, 2021

The Greatest Gift

Christmas is upon us, and there are so many things to do. Between decorating, baking, shopping for gifts (not to mention wrapping those gifts) and so many events and gatherings to attend, the holidays can be overwhelming. At times like this, it’s good to stop, take a breath and remember why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. Christmas is first and foremost a celebration of the birth of Jesus. As the Bible tells us, “in him we live, and move, and have our being.” He isn’t just the reason for the season. He is the reason for everything we do, or should be, anyway. As we scurry here and there and everywhere getting ready for the holidays, I hope we all remember to keep Jesus, and his birth, front and center.

With that being said, Christmas has always been such a big deal and it seems there’s so much to do. Maybe we need to take another look at that. I recently had a conversation with my son. He’s grown and has more than a few Christmas mornings behind him. He told me he can’t remember hardly any of the Christmas presents he’s received. He said when he thinks back on Christmases past, he remembers the times spent with family. He remembers the laughter, the love, being together with his siblings, and seeing his grandparents, aunts and uncles. The gift inside the wrapped package? Not so much.

As we plan our holiday festivities with family and friends, maybe we should keep in mind what’s really important: the time we spend with each other. When our babies are grown and have families of their own, they will remember the good times, not the presents. Christmas is about sharing the love of Jesus and being thankful for him. This year, I challenge us all, me included, to focus more on making the time we spend with each other meaningful. That, more than anything we wrap and put under the tree, is the greatest gift we can give or receive.

Even as I write these words, I remember I have things to do to get ready for the holiday. I’m sure you do, too. We wouldn’t do all these things if we didn’t enjoy it so much! So, go ahead, hang the mistletoe, bake the cookies, wrap the presents. Just be sure to give yourself time to breathe, laugh, hug, and love the moments you get to spend with your families. In the years to come, you’ll be glad that you did.

Merry Christmas, y’all. I hope you and yours are blessed this holiday season.

Contact Me

I always appreciate hearing your comments, opinions and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-2459. You may write me at Holly Thompson Rehder, Missouri Senate, State Capitol, Rm 433, Jefferson City, MO 65101, send an email to or visit