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News & Press: Holiday Reflections

Peace on Earth All Year

Monday, December 19, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Professional Educators of Tennessee
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

PEACE ON EARTH ALL YEAR  [View/Download PDF]

 

“Peace on earth, and mercy mild. God and sinners reconciled.” Peace on Earth in 2016 or 2017? Surely you jest. For those who are angry year-round, let this holiday season be an exception. If you need to reconcile with anybody, friend or foe, make this holiday an opportunity to do so.

 

Like many, I have learned what the power of faith can accomplish in an individual life. In addition, faith has traditionally played a crucial role in shaping American institutions, including education and civil society. America has thrived as a model of democracy and equality precisely because of this pervasive religiosity and the traditions it helped establish.

 

The abundance of faith-based voices in the public square does not mean that the difficulties of our world will suddenly vanish. But the inclusion of these faith-based views and voices, both individually and corporately, allows communities to explore areas of consensus that are often overlooked. It provides for those in the faith-based community the opportunity to do what it does best - serving others and expanding its role in serving society.

 

The holidays are supposed to be a time of happiness, gathering of friends and family and most importantly optimism for the coming New Year. Yet we get inundated with reminders of the holidays that may conjure up unresolved issues like grief caused by a missing friend or family member, your own failing health or that of a friend or family member.

 

Reminding yourself of these issues in advance can help you develop a strategy to tackle this short period of time. Most people struggle with holidays at some point in their lives. Just as we often struggle with life itself. It requires effort to overcome any problem. Recognition of our own thoughts and feelings helps us be successful in being triumphant over even the worst of times.

 

The sense of increased isolation and loneliness creates the recognition that there is a difference between the perception of holiday joy and the reality of one’s own life. Holidays can take a toll on even the happiest person. And if you cannot find happiness in life, you are not likely to find it under a tree at Christmas.

 

If we want to alleviate the enormous stress on friends and family structures, we must make a positive commitment this holiday season to help others, as well as ourselves. We must all become promoters for hope. It is in giving that we truly receive. Robert Louis Stevenson reminded us: “You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving.”

 

We need to work together to prevent symptoms of depression and anxiety from dominating our community this holiday season. We need a positive environment to help our children enjoy this most sacred season, and we all have a role to play to make sure those around us remain emotionally stable and use effective coping skills.

 

This holiday season take an opportunity to make a difference in someone's life. When churches, synagogues, mosques, businesses, and governments collaborate, impressive things can happen to cause dynamic change in communities and among individuals. We must see every human being as created in the image of God. The impact of such collaboration could be of a global magnitude.

 

As Charles Spurgeon preached many years ago: “May God give you peace with yourselves; may He give you good will towards all your friends, your enemies, and your neighbors; and may He give you grace to give glory to God in the highest.” Perhaps goodwill among men and peace on earth is not really that difficult to fathom if we all would truly seek peace in our own homes and communities. Peace on earth is not a slogan we should embrace just one day a year, it is an objective that we should promote every day.

 

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JC Bowman is the Executive Director of Professional Educators of Tennessee, a non-partisan teacher association headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided that the author and the association are properly cited. For more information on this subject or any education issue please contact Professional Educators of Tennessee. To schedule an interview please contact Audrey Shores, Director of Communications, at 1-800-471-4867 ext.102.

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