Saturday, December 21, 2013

Silent Night

Your ‘Silent Night’ Moment

Good morning my fellow Rotarians.  At this time of year it is real easy in our busy-ness to miss some of the most important things in life.  So, I’d like to share a short story from Mark Gilroy, publisher of Simple Truths books.

It happened in the midst of the fiercest fighting of WW I.  It spanned 500 miles along the Western Front, a line separating the British and German forces. 

It was called the Truce of 1914.  There were numerous first-hand accounts from soldiers of how it seemly started on the evening of Christmas Eve, but the story most remembered was that a German soldier began singing “Stille Nacht” and his solo soon became a chorus as he was joined by English voices singing “Silent Night.”  It was truly amazing.

Men from both armies laid down their weapons and crept cautiously into No Man’s Land to share food, cigars, and drinks; even to play a game of soccer.  It was hailed as a miracle and yet “The Truce of 1914” was a one-time event, never to happen again during a war.  And it all started with a simple song.

Christmas has always been a time when people of all ages, races, creeds and even different faiths come together to break bread peacefully.  As in the Truce of 1914, sometimes even sworn enemies have laid aside historical and more recent hostilities.

In the Christmas story, a newborn baby was given gifts by Wise Men from the East, most likely Persians from a city now in Iran.  When these Magi realized King Herod was a threat to the baby’s life they returned home by a different route to keep the location a secret from the king. 

When the angels sang to the shepherds, “Peace on Earth, good will to all men” they announced a simple and yet profound truth that enemies can be reconciled; strangers can become friends; that those who think and believe differently can still live in peace as neighbors.  Christmas was literally born in strife – but celebrated and protected by “foreigners” who were men and women of peace and goodwill.

To some, this is the holiday season and not Christmas.  In our country we each have the freedom to believe what we wish.  We are blessed to have that freedom.  As a nation founded on Christian beliefs, our government designates Christmas as a federal holiday for everyone, regardless of whether you believe in the message of Christmas or not.

Regardless of what you believe about Christmas, we all should consider the value of peace and goodwill.  Don’t think that peace is something to be negotiated by politicians thousands of miles from your world.  Are there people right here at home who are different from you?  Does your attitude proclaim that you are a person of peace and goodwill?  What about that relationship where you should lay down your weapons of anger, harmful words or a difference in beliefs?   

Is it time to call a truce and be reconciled with someone in your life?  Two thousand years ago God sent his son as a special gift to all mankind to proclaim a message of peace and goodwill.  Christmas is the time to remember this message.      

I believe we impact others in our leading by example.  Be on the lookout for your Silent Night opportunity; your chance to show peace and goodwill.  As Rotarians, we are best at this. 

To you and your family I wish you peace, goodwill and a very Merry Christmas!  This is the bottom of our news on this Friday, December 20, 2013.  ###