For the second time in a year, I have been mesmerized by a poster on a wall in the First United Methodist Church’s choir practice room. The first time was in December of 2015 when I wrote an article for the Heritage Children’s Chorale’s Christmas Concert. It is now December of 2016, HCC is giving another concert, and this time, I had the chance to stand in front of the poster for awhile during their practice. This time I wrote it down word for word, soaking it up and wanting to send it out. Given everything from the events of the recent Presidential election, to the selection of President-elect Trump’s Cabinet, to the death of Fidel Castro, I have been taking a hard look at leadership – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Hearing the words of the Gatlinburg Fire Chief thanking his crew for fighting the terrorism of arson unwaveringly while he lost his own home, made me remember that firefighters and first responders are among the most wonderful leaders we are blessed to have in our midst. The way communities are working once more to dig out from the rubble of yet another twister could only be fueled by passion and walked out through leadership.
Learning how to be an excellent leader is daunting, but perhaps the following words from the FUMC poster will serve to inspire:
The heart of all effective leadership begins with passion.
Not all passionate people are leaders, but all good leaders are passionate.
In the spiritual world passion comes from God and His work in our lives.
Passion motivates us to risk, trust, and attempt great things for the right reasons.
Usually the word “Passion,” when it is used in a Christian context, refers to what our Savior went through on Calvary. But, given the above statements, the word passion aptly describes the divinely inspired military leadership of the Macabees, the faith of Mary and Joseph, and in a word, is the “reason for the season” and far beyond. As a side note, we need to remember that without the passion of the Macabees, we would have no Savior, nor His birth to celebrate. We would have no menorah to light, no Hannukah (Feast of Dedication) to observe, as did Yeshua, and really nothing about which to be passionate.
I remember an example of cowardice in leadership, long before political correctness became pandemic. It was nearly 25 years ago, and the King County Commissioner of Washington State actually sent out a memo that told county employees that they were not allowed to wish each other “Merry Christmas” on King County property because it might be “offensive.” He might have been “passionate” about his position, but I think he missed the part of the poster that says, “Passion motivates us to risk, trust, and attempt great things for the right reasons.” Putting the pinch on the First Amendment is never a good idea, nor does it make any sense to secularize Christmas on the way to eliminating it completely from our culture. At the very least, it is the misuse of both passion and leadership.
We are called to lead in some way, whether it is by being a great example to our children or the head of a great corporation. Whatever your calling, lead well, and lead with passion while you “attempt great things for the right reasons.” May God bless each of you this Hannukah and Christmas and always.