Merry Christmas! If you’re Christian or not, it’s undeniable that Jesus’ message resonated with billions of people over many centuries. Like Jon Huntsman Jr., a political hero of mine (whose daughter, Abby we interviewed at Bold), I draw inspiration from many philosophies and faiths. For me as a Christian at this Christmas season, the story of Jesus’ life speaks of redemption and rebirth. Jesus was a rebel, unafraid to call out authorities who valued the letter of the law ahead of its spirit. Jesus was a healer who cared for the sick, the poor, the orphaned, the forlorn and forgotten. Jesus was compassionate and warned of the hypocrisy of judging others. His teachings mirror a phrase quoted by spiritual leader Dieter Uchtdorf: “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.”
My talented friend Morgan Ortagus this month invited me to see the Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall, and I’m very glad I joined. The beautiful, timeless dancers performed flawlessly while set lights and 3-D special effects dazzled the audience. I loved the subplot of an initially skeptical 14-year-old boy convinced that Christmas means believing in something unseen but also real. It reminded me of recent words from my godparent, Rev. Canon C. K. Robertson of the Episcopal Church, that Christians seek a “Peace not reasonable, but more real.”
We humans pride ourselves on our ability to reason. Reasonable means rational. But it’s not reasonable to love your enemies, bless those that curse you, do good to those that hate you and pray for those who persecute you. But that’s what Jesus taught, a similar message from leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Lincoln and Nelson Mandela. It’s a message that will heal our fractured country.
How we shape 2018 depends on our worldview. If we view the world as Jesus taught, it will be a more honest, loving, compassionate and unified place. We’ll look at others, no matter their broken circumstances, with compassion and clarity. For those suffering, we won’t hold back ways to rejuvenate their hearts. We’ll remember the words of the poem “The Touch of the Master’s Hand”:
’Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin,
But he held it up with a smile.
“What am I bidden, good folk?” he cried,
“Who’ll start the bidding for me?
“A dollar—a dollar—then two, only two—
“Two dollars, and who’ll make it three?
“Going for three”—but no—
From the room far back, a gray-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow,
Then, wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening the loosened strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet
As a caroling angel sings.
The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said, “Now what am I bid for the old violin?”
And he held it up with the bow.
“A thousand dollars—and who’ll make it two?
“Two thousand—and who’ll make it three?
“Three thousand once—three thousand twice—
“And going—and gone,” cried he.
The people cheered, but some of them cried,
“We do not understand.
“What changed its worth?” Quick came the reply,
“The touch of the Master’s hand.”
And many a man with life out of tune,
And battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap, to a thoughtless crowd,
Much like the old violin.
A “mess of pottage”—a glass of wine,
A game—and he travels on:
He is going once—and going twice—
He’s going—and almost gone!
But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul and the change that’s wrought
By the touch of the Master’s hand.
Best wishes to you and yours this Christmas Day and holiday season.