Celebrate the holidays Published Dec. 15, 2017 By Chaplain John W. Shipman 509th Bomb Wing Chapel WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- “I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again,” said William Penn.William Penn’s words echo through my life and raise up thoughts concerning December. A friend of mine walked into the Base Exchange several years ago at a base, and while she paid for her wares she said, “Merry Christmas.” The person behind her in line said, “You can’t say that in this establishment, you can only say ‘Happy Holidays!’” My friend turned to the person and stated, “I can say Merry Christmas any time I want!” The second person’s retort was, “Do you know who I am?” Then he stated his important position at the wing. My friend said, “Do you know who I am?” Then she stated that she was the wife of a very important person on base. At the end of their interchange, everyone in the BX knew who the important people were by name, and that they were neither happy nor merry.The men and women serving in the 509th Bomb Wing, I am proud of your accomplishments. I am proud to serve alongside you in defense of our nation. Through November and December, I hope people will know your names, because of your servant leadership, not by the words you say in a line. I hope you will reach out beyond yourself, to inspire someone who has less then you, to brighten a life and to encourage joy in our world, no matter your faith or unfaith.Christmas (Dec. 25), Chanukah (Dec. 12 to 20), Kwanzaa (Dec. 26), Yule (Winter Solstice Dec. 21) are all holidays in the month of December and each one is significant to someone serving at Whiteman.I encourage you to explore what others believe and discuss with them the importance of their observances. This will encourage community and understanding which are essential for a strong team. As I write these words I know that a deployment lies ahead for my family, and that I will be separated from those I love for a long time. You and your family may be facing the same issues, or a permanent change of station, or retirement in 2018. Make the time you have together special. Remember, during the month of December and throughout the year … expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness you can show, or any good thing you can do to any fellow being, do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as you shall not pass this way again. Be great and help others be greater.