May the Christmas bells inspire us this year | Jane lee hamman

This is the season we all wish each other a Merry Christmas, a Holy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays! During this beautiful time, our spirits are warmed by the precious memories of Christmas of old, by the pleasure of giving gifts and gratitude for the gifts received, by visiting family and friends, and by sharing. of cards, concerts, choirs, Christmas carols, cookies, meals and other cherished favorites. The blessings of December enrich our lives every year.

Our Judeo-Christian heritage forms the basis of the December blessings. Chanukah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a Jewish religious holiday commemorating the recovery of Jerusalem through a successful revolt led by the Maccabees, the heroes of Chanukah, and the subsequent consecration of the Second Temple during the turbulent times that have followed the death of Alexander the Super. In the aftermath of the revolt, the desecrated temple had only enough oil for a single nighttime ritual lighting of the menorah. However, by a miracle of God, this small amount of oil was able to last for eight days, giving the Jewish faithful enough time to obtain more.

Advent, meaning “to come,” is four weeks of study and reflection that Christians use to prepare for the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebrations of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. Each week a new candle is lit acknowledging hope, peace, love and joy. Luke chapter 2: 10-11 says, “I bring you good news of great joy, which will be for everyone. For unto you is born today in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

But a veil hangs over the celebrations this year. Americans fear more and more that the country is on “the wrong track” and that the world is becoming a dangerous place. A Rasmussen Report poll in late November showed that only 29% of us say the United States is headed in the right direction. Most of us are tired of the fears and restrictions of Covid, empty shelves in stores, rising crime rates and drug use / deaths, open borders and high drug prices. ‘gasoline. We are regressing through identity politics to erase Dr. Martin Luther King’s message of character rather than color, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Title IX Education Amendments of 1972, and to overturn the incredible increase in wealth and citizen well-being over the past fifty years.

Many are grieved that our fundamental inalienable rights contained in the Bill of Rights are violated, and that the constitutional structural balance of the three branches of government and of federalism protecting the sovereignty of states and citizens who consent to be governed is destroyed and may not be not be recoverable. Our society stagnates and spirals down, creating the potential for future economic and political woes that could one day resemble the disasters in Cuba and Venezuela.

In addition, Americans seem less and less willing to see or get along. The polls reveal not only a polarization, but also a deep pessimism that divisions can be mended. In December. 8, the former governor Marc Racicot declared: “A people who can neither speak nor listen to each other, who do not respect themselves, who will not sincerely consider the thoughts of the other, who do not trust each other and who cannot reason with each other. other, can not live long in freedom.

Our nation has experienced this kind of division before. Slavery and interstate fair trade issues have escalated since compromises were made to allow passage and ratification of the U.S. Constitution, and the Civil War began in 1861 after Abraham’s election. Lincoln for the presidency. Brothers killed brothers; nearly 700,000 died.

At dinner on December 1, 1863, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow received a telegraph at his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, indicating that his son, Charles, had been shot and seriously injured. Through her “problems and anxiety” in December, Longfellow wrote the poem “Christmas Bells”, which remains popular today as “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”.

I heard the bells on Christmas day

Their old familiar Christmas carols are playing,

and wild and sweet

Words repeat themselves

Peace on earth, good will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,

The belfries of all Christendom

had rolled along

The unbroken song

Peace on earth, benevolence to men! …

It was as if an earthquake praised

The hearthstones of a continent,

And lost

Households born

Peace on earth, good will to men!

And in despair, I bowed my head;

There is no peace on earth, I say;

“Because the hatred is strong and makes fun of the song

Peace on earth, benevolence to men!

Then rang the bells louder and deeper:

“God is not dead and he is not sleeping;

Evil will fail,

The right wins,

With peace on earth, good will to men.

May the bells on Christmas Day this year remind each of us of the candle of Christ, or the heart of your own tradition of faith, so that we can all be imbued with Hope, Peace, Love and Joy. . May we be inspired to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness, to work to reclaim what we lose, to nurture our daily freedom, and to defend our rich heritage and December blessings. As always, I am grateful and blessed to call Montana home.

Hamman, a resident of Clancy, is the former deputy director of the Montana governor’s office of budget and program planning.

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