At this Christmas season, I wish I could personally wish each one of you and your families the best for the holiday season and into the New Year.
Recently I read an account from the well-known American author and historian David McCullough about the story of Christmas 1941. During these dark days of the Second World War, Prime Minister Winston Churchill crossed the Atlantic to meet with President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
McCullough recounts how the two leaders spoke to a crowd of 20,000, with more listening on the radio, from the balcony of the White House on Christmas Eve. Roosevelt spoke first and then Churchill, who said:
“Here, in the midst of war, raging and roaring over all the lands and seas, creeping nearer to our hearts and homes, here, amid all the tumult, we have tonight the peace of spirit in each cottage home and in every generous heart…. Here, then, for one night only, each home… should be a brightly-lighted island of happiness and peace.”
Even now, more than 70 years later, I am struck by how relevant Churchill’s talk of peace amidst the tumult of war is for each of us.
How wonderful it would be if each of our homes, and our lives and even this very university could be “a brightly-lighted island of happiness and peace” in an ever-darkening world.
In the story of the first Christmas, Luke tells of Simeon, who was promised that he would see the Savior before he died. When Simeon held the Christ-child, he proclaimed:
“For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.”
Looking to the Savior; this is how we can be the brightly-lighted island Churchill spoke of on that Christmas Eve long ago. Because the Savior is our light.
May you have a Christmas season that is filled with the Light and Hope of the world. And may you bring the light of the Savior to all those around you.
--President Kevin J Worthen