I’d like to take this time to wish every one of our readers a blessed and happy holiday season. This little blog that started just over 30 days ago is now reaching people in 23 different countries and our message is going out to thousands of people. I never imagined that would happen so quickly. We are truly blessed that so many people choose to read our words and my prayer is that we are part of the solution and not part of the problem.
I’d like to send out special holiday wishes to our American troops overseas. We miss you and we are very proud of your efforts and continuing fight for freedom around the globe. I understand that your efforts are not always appreciated but I want you to know that people at home miss you and count the days until you can come home. Thank You for standing up for what is right and for your continued service.
Now, for those who don’t know, I was raised in a Christian home and I celebrate Christmas. I just want to get that out of the way, because I am tolerant of all people of peace around the world and would never presume to try to push my religious beliefs on anyone, but I also will not apologize for them.
I am open-minded enough to know that if I were born elsewhere my ideas might be different. We learn from our parents and the people around us. So please don’t be offended if I talk about Christmas today, because I respect you, so long as you can accept that you and I are in this together. We are brothers and sisters. We fight. We disagree. In the end we are all part of the great “human” race. Race has nothing to do with the color of one’s skin. Some people forget that. Shame on them.
In my youth, I learned this wonderful story of a man who was born to be a King. He was born of a simple mother and father and given the power to change the world. He is widely respected in my culture and known as Jesus Christ.
This story is filled with wonderful examples of angels, shepherds, and wisemen. The holiday season of Christmas is a time of peace and hope for all of humanity. This is something that the world never seems to fully grasp, no matter what their beliefs. There is too much hatred and killing in the name of religion. If I could change the world I would not make you a Christian, because that is not my place, but I would make sure that you and I could respect each other in spite of our differences. That is what all great historical religious figures have taught. It’s a simple idea of tolerance.
Jesus had no hatred for those who persecuted Him in life. He had compassion for them. He prayed for them. He healed them. Whether you accept Him as God or just a great man who walked the earth, you can not deny that His teachings were about peace.
I wish that the world we lived in was more about peace, but people have taken the teachings of Jesus Christ and used them as an excuse for killing their fellow humans, and the same can be said for nearly every religion on our planet. Behind nearly every religious belief there is a counter-culture of zealots who are waiting to kill in the name of their God. Their God doesn’t necessarily teach them to do that, but that is the reality of the world we live in.
Jesus was about compassion and forgiveness which is something world leaders of today could learn from. I will count the leaders of my own country in on this discussion. It is not just the foreign leaders who we love to villainize. Political leaders around the world tend to be about power, greed, and pushing their agendas upon others. The egos of these so-called leaders seems to be the only thing that drives them. Honest men and women don’t often succeed in politics because political systems are built on corruption.
My hope is that we can see a day when these people become servants to their people instead of treating their people as slaves.
To achieve this we need more of the metaphorical wisemen. I would compare the wisemen to the modern day voters in my country. Wisdom is not the same as intelligence. Wisdom is knowing how to interpret the things that are happening. It is my opinion, for instance, that my country is making a push toward a more socialist society, despite the many historical examples of socialist failure. A “wise” man or woman might recognize this and figure out how to stop it. They might see the need to speak their conscience and try to move others to become educated. I don’t want to make today into an argument between political ideologies. Maybe I am right and maybe I am wrong. This is not the day to debate it.
What we can not argue is that citizens of any nation have a responsibility to see what is happening at home. They are obligated to be conscious of the inner workings of their government. I see more interest in cute cat pictures then I do in real issues in my country, so my first wish would be that people start paying attention to what is happening, so we can rally together as a nation and heal the wounds that still bleed. The people that read article’s like this one are not the problem.
The problem lies within the culture of laziness and apathy in the United States of America. We must talk about this until we are blue in the face. I don’t have all of the answers but at least I research the alternatives to the best of my ability. When more people start to do that, we will start to find more answers that will return this nation, and many others, to greatness. We need more wise men and women because I for one understand that I don’t have all of the answers. It is your responsibility to seek your own truth as you understand it. You must be relentless in that search, it is not something that can be garnered from one 30 second campaign commercial. It takes effort.
Even if we gain more wise men and women, we need Shepherds to guide them. These are the people we need in government positions. A shepherd does not leave his flock. He doesn’t go on “extravagant vacations” when his flock is starving and sick. A shepherd is loyal and serves his flock tirelessly. There is no question where his loyalties lie. That is why his flock follows him. Sorry ladies, women can be shepherds to. 🙂
In the United States of America we use the term “servant” leaders less and less everyday, and it is a shame. These people are our employees. They are our supposed to serve US first and foremost. They have our back when we are hurting. Well, ideally that is the way it is supposed to work. They tend to us in ways that only a true shepherd can, and we follow them blindly because they have our complete confidence. How long has it been since you followed a leader like that?
I am not sure I ever have, but it’s not because I don’t want to. It’s more because every leader we elect seems to have an agenda that comes before the will of the flock (the people). The flock is smart enough to realize this and it causes confusion and dissent. My second Christmas wish would be for more “Shepherds” to be gifted to this nation so that they can lead the way to green pastures that we would have never imagined were possible.
These shepherds and wisemen likely already exist in this country, so why is it so hard to find them? Because many of these people don’t understand their proper role in this world. They would rather surrender to the idea that things will never change, than to rise up and try to make a difference.
Without angels to inspire us and guide us, the shepherds and wisemen may never realize their roles in this society.
Angels come in many forms and I see them as simple and pure. There is a man in my hometown (population 8000) who will feed 1400 people on Christmas day. He has been doing this work for over 30 years. He delivers toys to 400 needy families each Christmas season. This man is not wealthy. In fact he has a full-time job and accomplishes these wonderful things with determination and donations from others. I view this man as an angel. It’s people like Linn Thornton who remind us on a daily basis that it is not OK to accept things the way they are. People need to see more of these stories.
Every community around the world has people like Mr. Thornton. They inspire us in some form or fashion. Some become popular around the world. Some become heroes only in their local communities or maybe just in their own homes.
I think about people like Oscar Pistorius, “The Blade Runner,” who stole the hearts of a world by being the first double-amputee to run in the Olympic games. I was truly inspired to not only see him run, but to see him do very well and leave so many able-bodied runners behind him. He taught us that there is no such thing as a “handicap.”
I think about people like the kid who had the guts to stand up to Westboro Baptist Church. In a sea of signs which included messages like “God hates fags” this child stood unafraid and held a sign of his own that read “God hates no one.” This was his truth and he was not afraid to stand on the truth.
I think of people like the police officer, Larry DePrimo, who took the time to give a homeless man a pair of shoes.
There are hundreds of examples in your own community and nationally but we must draw inspiration from these people. We talk a lot about what is wrong in this world here on The D.C. Clothesline. This is our way of trying to talk to the wise men and women of this world, but we are certainly not angels. I will likely never inspire you to action like an angel can. You must balance the study of evil with the joy of seeing good. If you dwell in the negative you simply become old and bitter and then… you become part of the problem and not the solution.
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The question you must ultimately ask yourself is… Is it OK for me to keep living like I am living? Or do I need to become a bigger part of the solution? The change has to start within each of us.
Every single one of us has that analytical wisdom, the loyal shepherd, and the angel who inspires already living within our hearts. People were born for greatness. My wish for all of my fellow humans is that they believe in themselves and start to realize their greatness and possible contributions to this world. If we all do that, 2013 will be the best year ever, not only in America but around the globe.
Happy Holidays from The D.C. Clothesline. If it is Christmas that you celebrate then I would wish you a blessed Christmas from my family to yours.