Merry Christmas Sir Knights,
I have taken my time in getting this letter out in part because I knew I wanted a Christmas theme but I wasn’t really feeling the Christmas spirit. This is my 4th year celebrating Christmas as a father rather than a child, and while the blessings of such are countless, you find yourself easily caught in the “business” of Christmas. I take great joy in teaching my children about Christmas, and seeing their faces on Christmas day but putting up decorations, buying presents, and going to events can be positive or negative depending on your perspective at the time, and with work that doesn’t slow down for the holiday, overbearing commercialization, and the constant controversy over the very nature of the season, Christmas as a grownup tends to gravitate towards the latter.
I’ve come to find that simply enjoying Christmas in the 21st century is no easy task. It seems like every day we hear someone trying to guilt us out of it. Buying presents is supporting ramped consumerism, decorations are wasting electricity, and even wishing someone a Merry Christmas can be construed as a sign of ignorance or crassness followed with the regular reminder that Christmas includes numerous pre-Christian rituals, falls in or around Hanukkah, or other contemporary celebrated holidays and falls on countless other pre-Christmas holidays which also may have influenced his development, meaning obviously that guiltless enjoyment should be impossible. And it wouldn’t be the Christmas season if the ACLU didn’t sue someone. The Anti-Defamation League refers to the season as the “December Dilemma,” a fitting name for what we’ve made it.
On the other side you have those who brigade to “Keep Christ in Christmas,” a noble effort that even our Grand Encampment recommends we take part in as Suggestion 29 in the Guidelines for Religious Activities. But it too has its drawbacks, turning a joyous season into yet another battleground, and alienating those who do celebrate holidays near December’s end. So how do we weather the storm, and enjoy ourselves? The only thing I’ve learned to do is to focus on the fruits of Christmas. It is still a season that uniquely and internationally shifts our heart towards giving to others, encourages joy and good cheer, and gives us a profound focus on the gifts we have received as a result of the birth of our blessed Emmanuel, whatever time of the year he was born in. I have long loved the drive home on Christmas night. Businesses are closed, streets are empty, and the focus on goodness is alive in the air. It is a season of magic, excitement, and tradition that all the superficial criticism in the world cannot destroy.
It takes work sometimes, and there is much foolishness to cut through, but it is my charge to all Sir Knights to enjoy the Christmas season as best you can, and allow it to fill you with the joy and peace of the LORD.
We will still be having our regular meeting on December 17th but the focus will be on Ann Arbor Council No. 86’s Installation of Officers. We do however have two Knights of Malta in waiting, and plans for their Order of the Temple are forthcoming. In addition I would encourage all Sir Knights to support the Southeastern Battalion and attend Northville Commandery’s Christmas observance on Thursday, December 20th at 7pm on 106 E Main Street, Northville, MI. And upcoming in January we have Olive Lodge No. 156 & Stockbridge Lodge No. 130’s honor guard on Saturday, January 5th at 113 W Middle Street, Chelsea, MI to plan for. Our own Thane Domrase, a Knight of Malta is being installed as Worshipful Master of Olive Lodge, so I’m hoping to put on a good show. Speaking of putting on a good show as many of you have seen I’ve had our Drill Badge redrawn, and am currently taking quotes on getting it remade. If anyone has any suggestions on who to go to they would be greatly appreciated.
I thank you all for reading this month’s letter and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Deo duce, ferro comitante,
Brandon Mullins, Commander