It is Christmas Day, a day of reflection, hope, redemption. We remember the many gifts we have received from our own loved ones – and we cherish the fond memories they created for us. With many blessings, I am grateful for the precious gift of more time with family and friends, and with colleagues who have always helped share the work of the mission. At this time of year, the Charles Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol” comes to mind. It is a story of the consequences that flow from the choices one makes, and most importantly – it is a story about the possibility for redemption.
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
The Truth About Consequences
Within the tale, Dickens writes of three ghostly spirits who seek to instruct Ebenezer Scrooge on how his choices in life have had impact far beyond his own life. It is to the “Ghost of Christmas Future,” a spirit of whom Scrooge remarks, “I fear you more than any other specter I have seen,” that Dickens makes plain the consequences from Scrooge’s actions. A premature, tragic death for the son of Scrooge’s clerk Bob Cratchit. Scrooge is shown that the death of “Tiny Tim” will bring a devastating grief upon the whole Cratchit family, while his own imminent death will be one that is unmourned and unremembered.
Scrooge, upon being confronted with the consequences of his actions, makes a desperate plea, and in so doing draws out the tale’s lesson and instructs us all: “Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends to which, if persevered in, they must lead. But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change. Say it is thus with what you show me.” In that moment, Scrooge is reaching for an opportunity to take an altered course as a pathway to redemption.
The Power of Redemption Remains
Police officers understand this message, and they have witnessed the consequences of bad decisions, even true evil, as dramatic as any of those Dickens has provided in his Christmas tale. As a nation, far too many of our countrymen have suffered the consequences of policies that weaken communities. Yet, we are blessed that the power of redemption remains, and people of goodwill continue to serve.
In policing, our officers foster public safety. They protect the innocent, and they point the way toward redemption for those who have traveled the wrong pathways and seek an altered course. In this regard, let it be said of all of us that we understand the meaning of the tale that Dickens has provided, “as well as anyone alive possesses the knowledge.”
So, with these thoughts in mind, on this Christmas Day, a day of family and renewed hope and redemption, let us remember once again that blessed are the peacemakers and the protectors of the innocent. And, in this spirit, I thank all of our peace officers for helping to protect the innocent from evil, for seeking justice where there is injustice — for being protectors and peacemakers.
Please accept my warmest wishes in this holiday season for each of you and all those close to you. “And, God Bless us, everyone.”
Merry Christmas. For unto us this day was born a Savior.
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