The holiday season, especially around Christmas and New Year’s, can become a flurry of busyness, fighting the crowds, constant noise, road trips, circling the mall parking lot looking for the last available space, and the neverending frenzy over the latest toy or gadget. For many, it’s a time of joyful and meaningful celebration with family members, friends, and coworkers. However, it can also be a time of quiet and spiritual reflection. Millions of Christians take the opportunity to stop and consider the “gift” of the Christ Child.
Yet, we can easily take even the simplest of celebrations for granted, given to us through the incredible blessings of freedom… the freedom of religion, the freedom to celebrate the birth of a Savior, the freedom to say, “Merry Christmas,” the freedom to worship according to the dictates of conscience, and to live our lives accordingly.
Yes, Christmas is about giving and sometimes it’s about sacrifice. I am reminded that it was on a frigid Christmas day in 1776 that George Washington led a cold and weary band of Continental soldiers across the icy waters of the Delaware River and on to a major victory in Trenton, New Jersey. Many would later acknowledge that this battle was a key turning point in the nation’s morale and the War of Independence. The price was great and we now enjoy the fruit of what others have given.
The spirit of giving is alive to today. This Christmas, I want to thank the hundreds of government leaders in Congress and State legislators across the United States who continue to give their time, their talents, and their treasure… to champion the cause of freedom for all of us. Just recently, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) issued new guidelines in a memo regarding religious expression at its facilities. The new policy permits religiously-themed cards, gifts, displays, and Christmas carols, as well as season’s greetings, including, “God bless you.” Some may consider this a small victory in the bigger scheme of things, but I am encouraged nonetheless and believe we are beginning to see a turning point in the national narrative.
I want to thank pastors who inspire their congregations to pray earnestly for our country and to give honor to God for His mercy and grace on our land. Millions have put up an “In God We Trust” window cling in their homes, places of business, and on their vehicles. I want to thank ministry leaders who are willing to come together and pool resources for the common good in fighting for the soul of America. And I want to thank you for the gift of your ongoing support and faithful prayers.
A friend shared something that was said by a young girl, Emily, age seven, “Christmas is what’s in the room when you stop opening presents long enough to just listen.” The words of the beloved carol still beckon us, “Silent night, Holy night…” May God give us ears to hear, eyes to see, and a spirit to understand.
A very Merry and Blessed Christmas to you!