Taking a moment to reflect, early this Christmas morning, the text of President Bush’s remarks on Jesus birth aptly captures my thoughts:
Humility. Not a word we are accustomed to hearing in such a positive light, but as the President articulates, the grand purposes of God can be found in humble places. When I think about humble beginnings, I look no further than the community from which I came. I think about people like those who attended my church. I think about our blue collar workers who get by on odd jobs or who work in factories like GoodYear up in Lawton. I think about Grandpa’s old farm house out here in the country. I think about Greg MacKelvy’s store where I worked until I left for Dartmouth.
All of these humble origins have shaped and grounded who I am. Though they are berated, criticized as backwards, deemed unintelligent, and dismissed , these origins and this area are good. It represents some of the very best of this Nation and everything about it I love so much. Though they may never be grand in any measure of power, wealth or intellect, the blessings these origins have provided this Nation (and me) far exceed the tired institutions of pretense and condescension.
In particular, growing up here has endowed me with a sense of responsibility to help others. It has instilled in me the need to love others- however imperfectly I execute this. It has taught me friendliness. And it has demonstrated that life’s riches aren’t found in material possession or social status. True wealth is found in simplicity. It’s found in the Bedford Falls of the world. It’s found where people can appreciate life and love others. It’s found in the cold of the manger and at the foot of the cross. And it is especially prevalent in small towns like this.
This Christmas, I am reminded of why everything about this area and these people are so important. I am reminded of why it is important to reach out to others in love. Finally, I am reminded of the birth of our Savior who made good possible and places like Walters so.