Dec. 31, 2021 — In quiet moments of reflection this winter season, I hope you took the chance to really listen to the lyrics of the Christmas music that was constantly playing. Even if you aren’t religious or don’t celebrate the holiday, these songs often talk about messages of hope and light in this season of darkness.
One line that sticks with me every time I hear it is, “Let there be peace on earth / And let it begin with me,” from the song written by Jill Jackson-Miller and Sy Miller in 1955. Interestingly, it is not strictly a Christmas song, though this is the time of year I hear it most.
“Peace on Earth” is the direction I’ve chosen for the New Year. More specifically, the part where I let it begin with me.
When 2022 begins tomorrow, I choose peace.
This is an active choice to create harmony in my life, to be intentional with the way I interact with others, to minimize the points of stress that exacerbate anxiety. The world is in flux. Creating peace is one way to ease the burden for all.
With the death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu this week, snippets of his wisdom are everywhere. This is one that seems pertinent to the beginning of a new year: “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
We live in a special place in the Siuslaw Region. When a group or individual lets others know about a need, people here tend to react quickly to address the issue. People often raise money and other donations and provide helpers, stepping in physically when possible. We’ve made it our culture to do that little bit of good right here, where we are. It’s earned us a reputation of being a generous community, a willing community and a community of volunteers.
It also shows that we care for our neighbors. Underneath the current state of divisiveness, we’ve chosen to set aside those differences to support each other. It’s an act of peace, and a tradition I hope to see continue in the coming year.
Friends, 2021 has continued to be a year of global and national difficulty, with an ongoing pandemic and endless debates on politics, climate, health care, the cost of living and so much more. It’s been better than previous years in some ways, especially as the COVID-19 vaccine became available to a majority of the population. It’s brought many of us out of our isolation and back to the point where we can gather again, either in person or virtually.
2021 has also shown how much we need each other. That won’t go away in 2022.
As the winter season continues, with its short days and long nights, freezing temperatures and rain, may you continue to find a light in the darkness. And, just maybe, shine some of that light for your neighbor.
Peace be with you in the new year.