We spent the week of Thanksgiving working on the old homestead in Arkansas. It was nice to get away. By Friday, I was ready to make the transition from Thanksgiving (my favorite American holiday) to the Christmas season and all its fun and fancy.
Then I made a huge mistake: I sat down and watched the news.
First there was the rioting in Ferguson, Missouri - and elsewhere around the country -- as a result of the Grand Jury decision regarding the Michael Brown case, with people being shot, businesses burned to the ground, and police cars set on fire.
Then the rioting and near mass hysteria in the malls and departments stores and huge discount chain stores over items "marked down" for the holidays. I read that some fights even broke out over discounted underwear. Good grief!
There were executive memoranda on immigration and other key political issues, and reports about a near doubling of the national debt.
I read about a town somewhere in our nation where the citizenry was upset -- to the point of rioting -- over the town's public Christmas tree. Luckily, cooler heads prevailed and now the community is planning a celebration around the scrawny evergreen.
And things are still not well for our soldiers in far away places around that hot bed of strife called the Middle East.
So, as I was preparing to dive headlong into the Christmas Season, I was instead reminded of Longfellow's sorrow over the way things were in his day.
"And in despair I bowed my head: 'There is no peace on earth,' I said ... 'For hate is strong and mocks the song ... Of peace on earth, good will to men'"
My mind went there, but only for a moment ... because I am an optimist. I try to always see the glass half full instead of half empty. I expect things to get better. And I know the truth of the season.
So did Longfellow.
"Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: 'God is not dead, nor doth he sleep; ... The wrong shall fail, the right prevail ... With peace on earth, good will to men."
That's the good news of this special season. God is not dead ... He is still on the throne ... The wrongs of this world fail ... Right will prevail ... And we will know peace.
Thanks for the reminder Henry.