Memories are a source of wisdom and identity

Out on a LimbRoss L. TalbottGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” That is true in a negative sense, but it is also true that those who cannot remember the past have to learn many things over again.The memory of the past is not only a great source of wisdom, but also a source of identity. Memories of childhood and growing up give us insight into who we are and why we do what we do and think as we do.

Memories can also be a source of bitterness and defeat. There are ways to get free from painful memories. Forgiveness is probably the greatest weapon against the tyranny of the past. Jesus looked down from the cross and said, “Father, forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing.”Surely that can be said of ourselves and our parents or others who did stupid things in the past. Forgive them and free yourself from tyranny of painful memories.This is a season dedicated to the memory of a monumentally significant event, so it is an appropriate time to search our past for warm, beautiful memories and create a few new ones for those dear to us.As we search our memories, we need to search for truth. Often we find our perceptions were wrong or we failed to be aware of the whole situation. This celebration of God’s love might be a good time to search the past for reconciliation and forgiveness.Memory also gives us an identity of who we are as a people and a nation. A search for the honest history of our nation will give us great gratitude and pride in who we are. Our forefathers embraced great challenges and hardships to give us a nation free of tyranny and oppression, and we should pass that memory onto the generations to come.

Unfortunately our government educational institutions have taught an incomplete or distorted history which has resulted in many people today trying to deny the Christian heritage of our nation. The educational system itself was born out of the Christianity that it is now seeking to suppress.If you can lie about the past to a child or distort past events, you can build a false memory, and thus a false identity.In the same manner, an incomplete or distorted history of our nation can result in a generation with a false national identity.One of the amazing things in human history is that the Jewish people maintained a national identity in spite of being scattered and persecuted for thousands of years. Now they are once again a nation with the same uniting identity. They survived because they worked at remembering and celebrating special feasts and customs no matter where they were. Our survival as a nation is absolutely dependent on our keeping the true memories alive as a tradition.Many in our culture are trying to distort or eliminate the memory that the celebration of Christmas preserves. The heart of Christmas is not just some winter holiday dedicated to gifts, decorations and dinners.

This year, first of all work really hard at remembering the warm, wonderful, beautiful things of your past that will fill you with gratitude and joy. Also, work really hard at forgiving yourself and others.Finally, seek the truth of the central event of Christmas. The most remarkable event of human history, incredibly well-documented, is what we celebrate.Check it out, and Merry Christmas!Ross L. Talbott lives in New Castle.

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