How to make this Christmas a ‘favorite’ moment


Columnist Chris Bates with Maggie, one of many Labrador retrievers who’ve been at his side through the years.


     Last year I took a good friend duck hunting in the Delta. It was his first time seeing where our group hunts. We geared up well before dawn and got out to the area with our blinds, and he asked, “Which one is your favorite?”


     I realized that every one of our duck holes has its own great memories, tough hunts and unique experiences. It seemed that each one had been a favorite at a different time. Favorite memories from each were always about who had been a part of each experience. There were great hunts with my dad and brother, special hunts with one of the kids on their first time out, and hunts when we endured the extremes of the Delta winters together.


     My friend also knew that I have had several generations of Labrador retrievers over many years, and while we were hunting, he asked which four-legged hunting companion had been my favorite. Each one had its own personality, talents, compatibility and memory-making moments. One had been an award-winning champion retriever, one was the best family companion, and another had remarkable drive and perseverance.


     Like so much else in life, what we think of as a favorite may depend on the season of life, the circumstances and the memories that were made.


     Each of the last several years, the members of our men’s Bible study group have gotten to participate in a Christmas project with a local program for women in life transition and their children. As part of our get-together with them, we typically read the Christmas story portions of Luke 2 to the children, and then give Bibles to each of the ladies.


     After we had done so at the gathering last year, we all hung out for conversation and food. Two of the ladies in the program walked over to me and asked to talk. The first one asked, “Why do you guys do this?” I told her that being a disciple has two parts — first learning, and then going and teaching. Coming to spend time with them and helping out at Christmas time was a way to share, teach and connect. Then the other asked, “So, what is your favorite verse?”


     The question really took me by surprise, and I didn’t know how to answer right away. For some reason, my mind went to the verse that hung in my daughter’s room during her growing-up years, one that I go to sometimes for motivation. Ecclesiastes 9:10 says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might …” We talked together for a while about that verse and what it meant, then we helped each other find it in the Bible and highlight it. Once again, this moment stood out because of who it was with: believers and seekers exploring faith together.


     Do you remember your favorite pastime as a kid? Or your favorite place? Or your favorite Christmas? Sure, we may have one of those that stands out in our minds, but it also depends on the time of life, the situation and, most often, who we were with.


     So, for this season of the year and of life, can we make it the favorite for someone around us? How can we be prepared to spread hope and good news to others? C.S. Lewis said, “Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.” With that kind of selfless perspective, can we look for the opportunity to cause hop  and share love with another?


     We have a great example set for us by the shepherds after they found the baby Jesus in Luke 2:17-18, where it says, “When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.”


     Think specifically about who you will be spending time with during the coming days. We have the chance to give the ultimate gift. Be challenged to spread the Word to those around you and help make this a favorite moment in life when another’s faith is strengthened.




Chris is president and founder of Agora Company, a marketing, website and advertising company based in Jackson, and can be reached at He and his wife, Stacy, and their children live in Madison.

Pro-Life Mississippi