2023 Commander’s holiday message

  • Published
  • By Col. Jeffrey Holland, 75th Air Base Wing commander

HILL AIR FORCE BASE – The winter holidays are a time of joy, reflection and connection. As the air fills with the crispness of winter, many of us find ourselves wrapped in the warmth of community and the spirit of giving. It's a season that reminds us of the importance of relationships and the power of thoughtful gestures. 

Gift-giving during the holidays is more than just a tradition; it's an opportunity to strengthen bonds and express our appreciation for one another. The concept of the 5 Love Languages, introduced by Dr. Gary Chapman, provides a unique framework for understanding how we give and receive love.

While each of these love languages can be useful in building relationships, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts and Quality Time, also play a significant role in building communities.

“Words of Affirmation” are a powerful way to convey love and appreciation. A heartfelt letter, a handmade card, or a personalized poem can mean the world to someone. These gifts of words can affirm a person's worth, acknowledge their struggles and celebrate their achievements.

They are reminders that someone is listening, someone cares, and someone recognizes the unique individual they are. When you give the gift of affirmation, you tell a person that they’re seen, they belong and they’re valued.

“Acts of Service” demonstrate our appreciation for others through action. Offering to help with holiday preparations, volunteering together at a local charity, or simply taking on tasks to ease someone's burden are all acts of service that show you're willing to invest time and effort into someone's well-being. These actions create a ripple effect, inspiring others to pay it forward, thereby weaving a stronger fabric of community.

“Receiving Gifts” is less about a present and more about the thoughtfulness behind it. It's about taking time to know someone well enough to know what has meaning for them. In a community-building sense, it’s giving a gift that shows that we see and value everyone, that we care enough to share the experience of the holidays with everyone regardless of circumstances and the manifestation of the belief that everyone deserves to know the joy of the season.

We often see this love language spoken in gift drives like Toys for Tots, various “Angel Tree” programs, and charity donation opportunities.

“Quality Time” is perhaps the most precious gift of all. On an individual level, this might mean planning a holiday movie night, cooking a meal together, or simply having a long conversation over a cup of hot cocoa.

In the community, it means giving time from our lives and interests to others, in activities like serving in a food pantry, helping in a homeless shelter, or volunteering in mentorship programs. It's in these moments of shared experiences that we find joy and connection, and it’s how we allow others the opportunity to do the same.

Embrace the holidays and give of yourself this season. Reach out to those in need, physically and emotionally. Let others know you care for them, that you support them, and you value them. Give generously and you’ll find your capacity for caring increased and your impact on others magnified.

Thank you for your daily commitment to excellence and for making Hill AFB and our Air Force successful. It’s impossible to communicate the importance of your individual impact, but please know that you—personally and individually—do make a difference. It is a blessing to serve alongside you.

May you have a happy holiday season, and may your gifts, in whatever form they take, bring joy to you and your loved ones.