A Christmas song that returns us to what matters is “We Need a Little Christmas.” The song debuted in a 1966 Broadway musical, and it became a classic. The role of the song was to put a little cheer into the life of a family that lost their fortune in the 1929 stock market crash. In today’s seasonal setting, the title needs to be “We Need a Little Courage.”

Admittedly, it seems an odd choice of words. After all, isn’t the holiday season about hope, joy, peace, and love? All true. However, we also seemed to have lost our sense of courage in standing up for what is right and, instead, join in what the crowd-of-the-moment is chanting. Too many are just interested in sticking it to someone rather than embracing the courage to help someone.

A Story of Courage

Whether you believe the Christmas story or not, or whether the Christmas story is a part of your religious belief or not, the story is one of courage. Think about it. Two parents walking through tough terrain with one being pregnant and the other about to be a father. Being turned away from various safe places for the night, they turn to a barn as a last resort and then a baby is born.

As that baby grows, courage is demonstrated throughout the story. Standing against the overbearing influence of money in an institution and standing for the overpowering impact of kindness and forgiveness. The story of courage started on that Christmas day and was exhibited throughout his life. More than ever, we need to remember and use our power of courage.

Today, A Lack of Courage

Today, a partial government shutdown is underway because of a campaign chant. One person says he wants $5 billion for a wall. Yes, a wall. Most people see no long-term value in it. The number of undocumented immigrants has been steadily declining over the last ten years. While this decline has occurred, our transportation and communication infrastructure is deteriorating, and our life expectancy is declining at an alarming rate. Who dares to say a wall is a folly, and the money would be better invested in improving our quality of life?

Exhibiting courage seems to be more in the form of quitting than standing up. If we go back to the Christmas story, what if the parents just gave up and just perished in their journey? What if the baby born had not stood up against the money infiltrating religious institutions or stood for loving our neighbors as ourselves?

What we need is a little courage.

A season can remind us of what is important in current times. This year, I believe the reminder is that we need to find our courage again. Rather than affixing to a political party over inclusive betterment, our leaders need to find their courage. Rather than joining a chorus of chants without thinking about the negative consequences to our neighbors, we as citizens need to find our courage. When we zero into individual stories, we find courage in our communities, yet it gets diminished in what we see and hear from our political leaders in some states and at the national level.

We need a little courage.

In this spirited season, I hope that we find our courage to pursue betterment.

With courage, we can find joy in doing the right things. In courage, we find peace in who we are and who we can be. Through our courage, we can find love of others and our self. Here’s to finding a little courage this season and beyond.


Photo by Jon Mertz, 2018, all rights reserved. The photo is winter in South Dakota.