We are approaching that day of great hope and expectation. On the 25th of December we will once again celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Many are the folks who would rather religion not be mentioned in our media. To them I say, no, I shall not bow to your secular demands.
I believe in God and I will write about my Lord as often as He grants me the will to mention his Holy Name. Should you choose to believe differently, please do for you each have that right to personal privilege. Let me tell you why.
Many of you are not aware of the fact that I am a retired Army Reserve officer in the Corps of Engineers. For more than 26 years I played an extremely small role in the defense of my nation. My friends, over the course of my military career I did what I could to defend the freedoms of our nation, just as my father and grandfather before me had done.
My brother also served our nation during the Vietnam Conflict. There were no trips to Canada for the Carter Family. I served in Alaska, The Philippines, and Vietnam. My brother served in Germany as a member of the U.S. Army Infantry. While I was in the war zone, Bob was playing his part in the battles of the Cold War. We were away from home for a number of holidays. Freedom is not free my friends.
One of those great freedoms we defended involves the right to worship in the ways in which we each choose to believe. Each of you has the right to do that thanks to people like the members of the Carter Family and millions of other fine, brave souls. So it is in this manner that I shall craft a few words for you about the joy of life, with my words and in my way.
I have written a great deal recently about the existence of ignorance in our world. While my focus involves the fire service, I would like to say that at this time in history a great part of the world seems to be laboring in the darkness caused by ignorance, hypocrisy, and deceit.
Far too many amongst us give up and then give in to these forces of evil. They tire of the battle and begin to go along with the flawed programs within which they find themselves. You and I understand life's pressures. Let us find the strength in the coming year to battle the forces which would have us give up and go along with the throngs who march under the banner of the status quo.
My dear friends, this is the perfect time of the year to begin our journey toward the light of knowledge in the world today. Much like those who followed the star to Bethlehem to see the Baby Jesus, we need to begin our journey from the dark places wherein we reside to the enlightened places where knowledge, sacrifice and dedication to a common cause fill us with joy.
For many the light of joy will be brilliant and bright. For others the light of joy will be more elusive. Based upon many of the emails from you, my kind readers, I have been much pause to ponder the true state of our fire service. We do not all live in the same well-lit pastures of joy.
Many write of you have shared stories that make me want to cry. My heart goes out to you for the manner in which you are force to labor in the darkened vineyards of ignorance, malaise, hypocrisy and aggression wherein you find yourselves. For you I would suggest that the weakest light of joy would seem to you like a blazing sunrise; the dawn of a new day in your lives.
I am suggesting that you be the light. Cause others to seek out that dim light and then work to fan its flames to a new, bright glow. I urge you to ignore the gloom and doom merchants, naysayers, and hypocrites. Let us learn to take our joy from the simple act of service. You and I are out there every day working to protect our communities and serve our neighbors. We need to concentrate on the satisfaction we receive from our service.