Reflecting on Christmas

As Christmas approaches, we reflect on a year that’s been tough in many ways — economically and emotionally. As always, I turn to history to help gain perspective and I hope you will too. A few Christmas moments stand out. It was a nearly defeated and certainly dispirited Continental Army that General George Washington led across the icy Delaware River on Christmas night of 1776 in one of the boldest military moves in American history. Washington’s men marched to Trenton, where they defeated British and Hessian troops, and set the stage for later victories at the Second Battle of Trenton and at Princeton — and eventually victory over England in the American Revolution. Second, Christmas of 1941 was a difficult one for America — it was the so-called “Pearl Harbor Christmas” — the American base in Hawaii had been attacked just three weeks earlier. Americans did their best to celebrate Christmas, but there was no denying the reality of World War II. Already, hundreds of thousands of American troops were overseas and the homefront was ramping up for war. Regardless, Americans counted their blessings. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill visited Washington for 3 weeks over Christmas, and in one of his addresses to the American people, offered them this reminder in a  verse from the Bible: “He shall not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.” It fit the circumstances in 1941. And it fits them today. My thanks to all of you and my best wishes to you and your loved ones for a Merry Christmas.