God and sinners reconciled!"
Today is Christmas Day and if the world ever needed the season's message of hope, it's this year. 2017 has been a horribly difficult year for humanity. It's been a year of hurricanes, wildfires, right-wing extremism, threats of nuclear war and the egregious actions of the American president.
Here are some words from the late South African leader Nelson Mandela to give you hope as Christians celebrate the birth of Christ and the New Year comes upon us all:
“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one's head pointed toward the sun, one's feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”
- Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)
From Long Walk to Freedom: Autobiography of Nelson Mandela
Being optimistic, however, does not mean we should wear rose-coloured glasses and blissfully ignore serious problems. The wisest, happiest and most successful people have the ability to balance their idealism with realistic and worthwhile accomplishments. The problem lies in defining "realistic." The greatest people often achieve what they have been told is unrealistic or impossible.
Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection.
- Attributed to Winston Churchill (1874-1965),
I do come home at Christmas. We all do, or we all should. We all come home, or ought to come home, for a short holiday - the longer, the better - from the great boarding- school, where we are forever working at our arithmetical states, to take, and give a rest.
- Charles Dickens (1812-1870), English writer
From A Christmas Tree
At Christmas, it is necessary to make time to rest and reflect. We need to ponder and meditate in order to remove ourselves from all the hustle and bustle and the relentless commercialism surrounding us at this time of year. A simple pause. a look within ourselves, will give us a better appreciation of the season and relieve our stress. It will allow us to focus on what genuinely matters. It will give us a chance to assess where we are, where we are going and where we would like to be. After we reflect, we will be better able to rejoice. We will truly be home.for Christmas.