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This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, speaking on business.

The holiday season is a special time of the year. Only the most cynical Scrooge thinks otherwise.

But what makes the holidays so special? After all, according to the experts, it is the most stressful time of the year. And yet, we find ourselves smiling more often, enjoying lights, trees and candles, singing along with holiday music.

It is a time of year when we focus on what we are thankful we have, instead of worrying about what we don't. We give gifts ... which means we have to consider the needs of someone else ... to become more like that person.

We enjoy children, which means we let the beautiful child in each of us come to the surface and act out a heritage common to all adults.

We celebrate something and someone greater than ourselves, which means we acknowledge the weaknesses we share with every other human being.

We remember miracles of years gone by, lamps burning eight days without oil in a temple restored and cleansed, and a baby born in a manger, with shepherds and angels as witnesses.

We hang bright lights, decorate our homes, light candles and open our doors to friends and neighbors, which means we forget whatever petty disputes may have divided us during the year.

In other words, for one glorious season of the year we reject the things that separate us one from another, and rejoice in the things that bring us together.

Our likenesses bring joy. Our differences, real and imagined, bring distress. No wonder we consider this a special time of year.

A happy child once asked, "Why can't Christmas come every day?" Men of goodwill might ask the same question. There is no reason why the warmth and good feelings of the holiday season have to disappear as fast as a drumstick on a child's plate. If we can develop the technical skill to make Tommy's scooter and Suzy's skates last for years, can't we develop a spiritual force that will keep the spirit of these holidays alive for 365 days each year?

For Zions Bank, I'm Fred Ball. I'm speaking on business.

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