Opinions expressed in this piece are solely those of the author.
The images were jarring. In the annual White House Christmas video released this week, a troupe of tap dancers in bizarre, cartoon-like costumes tapped their way through the hallowed halls and rooms that house our nation’s presidents. Investigation revealed that the dance company, Dorrance Dance, was a radical, anti-white group whose website advocates defunding police, abolishing prisons, and supporting Black Lives Matter. This sparked a furor that burned hot.
As I watched the clip, I journeyed back in time. It was only four years ago that my husband and I were in those very halls, standing in those very rooms at Christmas time. There were no clownish characters, no raucous productions, just beauty everywhere, and grandeur, and awe.
Moving slowly from room to room, we drank it in. Gleaming woodwork, presidential chinaware. Deep, rich colors in tapestries, upholsteries, and drapes. Vibrant, luxurious roses in the state dining room, and the awe of walking where Lincoln once walked. Attendant over it all was a solemn hush infused with a bone-deep joy.
In the final room on the tour, a high-school choir caroled just before the staircase where presidents descend for state dinners. For some brief, ephemeral moments, we listened, unmoving. And then it was time, and we left with the sounds of Christmas ringing in our ears.
Even as I write, the immense gratitude and pride and sheer love for this country that I felt that night steal over me like a warm, cotton blanket. Today, on the heels of it there is sadness and a heavy concern. What a difference four years can make.
Meanwhile, as that controversy raged, an interesting article was published by Investopedia, stating that the American dream now costs $3.4 million dollars. That price covers one spouse, two kids, and everything it takes to raise ‘em, from housing to health insurance to education and getting them married. Throw in your own funeral expenses, and you’ll know what you can expect.
The cost of living. The price of a dream. The state of our country and its leaders. In this holiday season, these are weighty things that affect every American citizen. As such, I’ve been thinking, “What do I want for Christmas this year?”
The first item on my list is rooted in knowing that the desire of every human heart is to be loved, to belong in a family circle. No matter what life has brought or what one has experienced at the hands of other people, this longing is innate and God given. I want all to know such love.
In spite of the challenges named above, I pray that my people will have the courage to start families of their own, courage to raise sons and daughters, and courage to teach them goodness and morality. Though it is increasingly difficult in today’s prevailing culture, it is not impossible, for if it were, then should God be a liar, and he is never that.
We can raise healthy, strong families. I want every citizen to feel the hope of this truth.
I want parents to feel a fresh resolve, a surge of strength, and an abiding awareness of two things–that they are not alone and that their labors are not in vain. I long for them to be purveyors of wisdom and truth, preparing the next generation to walk wisely. I want this very much.
The second great wish I have is this–I want the leaders of this country to find courage where it is lacking, integrity in place of dishonesty, morality instead of corruption, and love for others that is greater than self. It is here that the voice of reason speaks. “You are a fool,” it declares. “That will never happen. It is best to give up all hope. The country is lost.”
Hear, now, the voice of faith speaking over the strident voice of reason, and it sounds in the words of Tennyson. “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.”
A living faith is an active one. It begins with prayer, it turns into action, and it ends with prayer. And over it all, in the middle “action” part? That’s suffused with prayer, too, and when faith informs our actions, miracles happen.
We have choices, we humans do. We can choose hope that births courage and strength, or we can surrender to cynicism and despair. Life will always present us with hard, unpleasant things, but we can reach for love and for truth.
All I want for Christmas this year is such peace, such love, and such joy for this land that I love. In that light, I’ve asked God to bless you and yours.
You can hear America’s small, caffeinated mom every Saturday morning on 77 WABC with James Golden, aka Bo Snerdley. Bring your own coffee and listen in.