“Peace on earth, and mercy mild. God and sinners reconciled.”
I hope that everyone is preparing to have a special holiday season this year with their friends and family, those loved ones who complete our lives. This truly is one of the most extraordinary times of the year. Most of us are reminded it really is more fun to give than to receive. If you have children, it is an attitude you are forced to adopt.
I am most grateful for all the military and civilians serving our country away from home this year. We are blessed to have young men and women willing to risk their lives so that we can be free, as well as safe and secure. I wish for peace and harmony in the world and the eventual safe return of all our troops from foreign lands after their brave service to our country. It is clear to all rational people that diffusing terrorists and their rhetoric is necessary for freedom to truly prosper in the world. These brave leaders are merely following in the footsteps of our founding fathers.
The late Paul Harvey identified that all other of the world’s revolutions before and since were initiated by men who had nothing to lose. The founders of this great experiment had everything to lose… nothing to gain…. except one thing…. and they pledged it to one another in the Declaration of Independence: “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
The inspiration of yesterday still inspires us today: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” To the memory of the patriots who paved the way during those tumultuous times, to the patriots who live today and the patriots yet to be born: May your holidays always be filled with good times, good cheer. May health and happiness be yours in all seasons!
I wish all families had an opportunity this Christmas to spend time with the ones they truly love, whether they are halfway around the world or simply across the street. Love is the greatest gift of all. I wish for my own family, as well as yours that this Christmas they can observe true love that lasts a lifetime beyond that reflected by our world. If you want a magical holiday season, give yourself in love beyond what you traditional are willing to surrender. Seize the opportunity and have the courage to tell those around you how much you care and appreciate them.
In today’s rushed society this holiday we should make every effort and encourage our friends and family as well as ourselves to reduce the many unnecessary obligations, pervasive card writing, never-ending baking, excessive decorating and needless overspending. Sharing quality time with family and friends is unmistakably more important than finding yourself severely exhausted, unable to appreciate those you love or even missing the true meaning of Christmas.
Maybe this explains why so many people have difficulty getting into the “spirit of Christmas.” The self-imposed exhaustion, coupled with the fact that merchants have now extended the holiday season to well before Thanksgiving probably leads to Christmas fatigue and loss of spiritual significance. This also means another holiday has lost meaning, of course maybe it is my heart that is in the wrong place.
The brave men and women who so eagerly wait for peace in the battles they fight for our security yearn for the peace at home, and peace on earth. Let’s begin by bringing peace to our homes. Peace on earth, which man throughout the ages has so longed for and sought after, can never be established, never guaranteed, except by the diligent adherence to the divinely established order.
We are reminiscent of the Prophet Isaiah who wrote centuries ago: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given” (Isaiah 9:6). It is true that Christmas, the day in which we celebrate the birth of Christ, probably is not an accurate reflection of the birthday of our savior. But anyone who seeks the true peace and lasting joy needs to reflect on the babe of Bethlehem and the sacrifice for sinners he was to become.
I am now more determined than ever to celebrate Christmas, appreciate my family and friends and remember those that risked their lives, fortunes and honor so that I could do those things. For those that are angry year round, let this holiday season be an exception. If you need to reconcile with anybody, friend or foe, make this Christmas an opportunity to do so. As Charles Spurgeon preached many years ago: “May God give you peace with yourselves; may he give you good will towards all your friends, your enemies, and your neighbors; and may he give you grace to give glory to God in the highest.”
I wish you the happiest Christmas you ever had. I hope that you have a memorable holiday and a wonderful time with those you love. I also wish you have a safe and happy and prosperous New Year’s as well.
We should strive to be kind and affectionate to others. If we always lived every day at peace with God, it would be the merriest Christmas we ever experience in all our lives every day in our heart. As my wise mother, Linda Bowman Lawhorn used to remind us “he who has no Christmas in his heart will never find Christmas under a tree.” Jesus is the reason for the season. But really he is the reason for every season.
JC Bowman is the Executive Director of Professional Educators of Tennessee. Professional Educators of Tennessee, a non-partisan teacher association headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided that the author and the association are properly cited.