The Wise Men traveled west 2,000 years ago following the star to Bethlehem to pay homage to the Prince of Peace. It was the beginning of a new era of time, values and ethics.
The words of that child of Bethlehem must be our focus during this time bearing his name. Christmas is a time to remember that each of us is a "prodigal son" and a "woman at the well." We can each be a "Good Samaritan" and a witness to the empty tomb.
We do this by remembering our past, living in the present and keeping our heart beating toward the starry future.
The pilgrims traveled west 350 years ago to a new country symbolized today by 50 stars on a red, white and blue banner. It was the beginning of the great American democratic experiment. As we prepare today to defend our values and ethics, still choking in the dust and grief from Sept. 11, 2001, we must celebrate patriotic citizenship with those millions who came before us and who will follow after us in the defense of the American dream.
We do this by paying homage to those citizens for whom daily life is a struggle to make the world a better, not bitter, place.
We should especially remember those young members of the military who just a few years ago we thought of as mixed up teen-agers. They are once again our first line of defense, and they are our best hope for a lasting world peace.
The service in the military by our young citizens continues to be a sign of our healthy lifeblood.
We should also remember all those community servants who spend their lives making their daily bread in services to the rest of us. The emergency services workers, law enforcement officers, municipal workers, educators, and the elected and appointed public servants are our best hope for peace at home.
The Alaska people traveled west over the past century to the gold mines, fishing sites and homesteads lead by the great north star. The Kenai Peninsula is blessed under "eight stars of gold on a field of blue" as we experience life and family during Christmas 2002.
As I think of "eight stars of gold on a field of blue," I rejoice this Christmas with my sister and brother-in-law as we will sit down at their Christmas table and break bread with eight of their chilren. Two daughters, Autumn, a lawyer, and Tamara, a scientist, are home. Two sons, Michael with his new wife, and Ian from college, are home. They will join with the other four children still at home, along with their last grandparent.
Christmas is celebrating Christ and country with family.
As the snow of Christmas 2002 falls on the land and people of the Kenai Peninsula, one last star comes to mind. During the middle of America's Great Depression, right before our most terrible and courageous World War II, the great and powerful Wizard of Oz reminded us that "A heart is not measured by how much you love but by how much you are loved by others." Remember how much Jesus loved you as you commit yourself to loving others during the New Year.
David R. Carey is the mayor of Soldotna.
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