Monday Ministerial Musings
By Rev. Mark William Ennis
2022 Blog #1
January 3, 2022
I saw, and heard about, a lot of fear during this Christmas season. With the new virus variant tearing through the world there are long lines at the testing centers, rising hospitalizations, and an overall sense of anxiety and in some cases, outright fear.
I wish that my grandmother was here to talk to us all. She once told me about a Christmas season when everyone that she knew was fearful and/or panicked. She told me a few times about the Christmas of 1941. She was forty-one years old at the time, was nursing a sick husband, trying to raise a nine-year old daughter.
To top this off, just eighteen days before Christmas, military forces of Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. She told me that the whole country was scared that other attacks would come in the Western Part of the country even while German U-boats were attacking United States shipping bringing Lend Lease supplies to England and the Soviet Union. There was violence on both coasts, rumors abounding, and an overlay of fear. That is the mindset that she and other Americans had when they entered into church for Christmas Eve in December 1941.
I asked Granny how she, and others dealt with that fear. She smiled as she looked at me and told me her method. This many years later I could not possibly quote her but I’m sure that I can paraphrase her from my memory.
She told me that everyone she knew did the following:
Vowed to never miss Church, both for mid-week services as well as Sunday. Prayers and hymn singing had a therapeutic effect on a person. Also, she told me, people were not sure how long they would live and church assured them that heaven awaited them if they died.
She told me that people were kind to one another. There was a real sense that with the fear of death so close by, a person did not want harsh words toward another to be their final words.
Finally, she told me that they listened to instructions from President Roosevelt and other governmental officials. She told me that sometimes instructions made sense and other times they did not, but President Roosevelt had more resources of facts than the average person did. Overall, federal advice was the best around.
Granny and her generation survived a difficult Christmas and lived with a lot of fear for almost four years before the war came to an end. If these techniques worked for her, maybe they will work for us. In this time of fear, I encourage us all to follow the Granny’s advice.
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