Another Christmas has come and gone. As I sit in my chair near the Christmas Tree sipping coffee with my dog in my lap, I watch the twinkling lights and gaze upon the numerous ornaments which decorate it. In the quietness of this moment, I find myself reflecting on the numerous memories embodied in this tree and am reminded of so many Christmases past. I think of my youth and the wonder and amazement which each Christmas brought. I think of beloved Grandparents who are no longer with us. I think of a young couple celebrating our first Christmas together in our first house and wonder how we made it back then. I think of tiny children who once laughed and played around our tree and have now grown into adult men and women. I even think of previous pets who would also sit in my lap and anxiously await the opening of presents so they could vigorously attack the wrapping paper.
This moment of nostalgia reminds me how very precious life is and how important our loved ones truly are. It seems that modern-day Christmas has become way too commercialized and hectic to really be enjoyed. This year I made the mistake of attempting to visit a Wal-Mart on the afternoon of Christmas Eve. It took a long time to even find a parking spot and when I entered the store, I encountered the longest lines I have ever experienced in a Wal-Mart. I simply turned around and walked back out. Whatever I thought I needed suddenly seemed to be much less essential. This experience causes me to encourage each of us not only to take the time, but to absolutely make the time to slow down and contemplate what is truly important and also what is not. I have attended numerous funerals in my life and most of them have pictures displayed and some even have a slide show of photographs. In all of these moments captured for posterity, there is never any pictures of them at work or performing some other mundane activity. They are always pictures of family, friends, holidays, birthdays, and vacations. The lesson to be taken from this is to enjoy each and every opportunity to be together with your family and friends and to cherish these moments for they are what truly make life enjoyable.
I also encourage you to make the time to be with your Brethren. Our Great Fraternity has so much to offer our Brotherhood, but I believe the greatest benefit of being a Mason is to continually meet with other good men who hold dear the tenets of Friendship, Morality, and Brotherly Love. Men who genuinely extend the hand of fraternal affection and who truly care about you and your family. Men who hold dear to the doctrine of truth, relief, and charity. It is an unfortunate reality that we live in a world today where these principles are not the norm. While the secular world is often a place of trepidation, misinformation, and distrust; within the walls of a Lodge, we can always find good and true Brethren who just by their presence will make our lives better. As we take time to reflect during this most special Holiday Season, may we always remember the important people in our lives and cherish each moment we have the privilege to spend with them. As the Psalmist said, “How good and how pleasant it is for Brethren to dwell together in unity.” Aletha and I wish each and every Mason and your families a very Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year.
– MWGM Mike Taylor