Merry Christmas.

I love this time of year.

It renews my faith in humanity.

I know the news is still filled with stories about the worst we have to offer, but there's an awful lot of good out there.

The season brings us closer to reaching our potential.

Everyone is a little more tolerant, a little more patient, a little more understanding.

Whether you're a little one waiting for Santa Claus or older and thankful your family will be gathering to celebrate, you have a reason to feel good.

For me, having Claire and Alek home from college and actually home, not here's my laundry, gotta go makes every day more special.

My wife, Kelly, will have some time off around the holidays, and I'm closing for a few days, so it'll be a treat to be together.

We have a lot of gifts to be thankful for.

I know there is a lot going on in the world, and here in this country we get caught up in how the political winds are blowing, but when we get up every day we know we're right where we want to be.

It's been a little more than a year since we moved to Humphrey, Neb., and we've owned the newspaper for more than a year and a half. Still, I look forward to coming to work and telling the stories of the people in northern Platte County.

Some think there's not much going on in small towns. That's because they've never lived in a small town.

With three high schools in the area, communities of business owners and people ready to roll up their sleeves to put on community events, there's a lot going on.

You never know where life will lead you, and that's part of the fun.

Not many people set out on life's journey and end up where they thought they would.

I'm one of those.

I went to college to become a teacher, but changed courses to journalism.

I started out at a small, weekly newspaper, worked for a couple daily newspapers, and now I'm back where it all began, and where I feel most comfortable.

All stops were enjoyable some more than others but now I'm done moving.

There aren't too many places you can go to, and the people make you feel at home right from the beginning.

We've settled in. Our family traditions remain the same, just with a new address.

We spent last weekend doing what we've done since Claire and Alek had to stand on a chair decorating Christmas cookies.

The only thing that's changed is the messes aren't quite as big, and you can tell what the cookies are supposed to look like after they are decorated. There aren't globs of frosting and every type of sprinkle poured on them. Although those cookies tasted great.

Families gathering to celebrate the meaning of the season make it special. Memories of days gone by are shared and new ones created.

If anything, we need to bottle the feelings this time of year brings out in us and sprinkle them around throughout the year. After all, every day is a day to celebrate. It doesn't have to come gift wrapped.

Patrick Murphy, of Humphrey, Neb., is a former assistant managing editor of The Garden City Telegram.