18 January 2017
Do Not Fear
Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Michael Jeffries
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. Even though this was a busy time of the year for the chapel staff with Christmas activities, it has become one of my favorite times of the year. I must confess, Christmas used to stress me out and I did not enjoy it very much, but in recent years I have been able to relax and enjoy its meaning for me and enjoy time with family and friends.

The lights of Christmas and Chanukah always remind me of hope, and I am always amazed at the lights people put on their homes this time of year. I can’t seem to get it to work, but I am thankful for those who can and I enjoy their labors very much. Frederick has some amazing displays in the local neighborhoods, and they are always a joy to see. The music of the season is also a source of great joy for me. Some of my favorite songs are found this time of year; “The Little Drummer Boy” and “O, Holy Night” bring joy to my heart each time I hear them. Finally, the smells of the season fill my thoughts of family and friends, with the scents of foods cooking and hot apple cider taking me on journeys throughout my life, remembering special people and places.

So much of the news focuses on why there is no hope, no joy and no fellowship in the world today. Terror strikes fear in our hearts. The transition from one president to the next causes fear and breaks our fellowship as Americans. Even the celebration of Christmas causes disputes as to the factual accuracy of the season.

The angel’s message in the Christmas story always started with, “Do not fear.” That has become my theme for this holiday season and the New Year, Do Not Fear. It seems like so much today tells me why I should be afraid and very little tells me why I should be hopeful. If it is not terrorism, political collapse, financial disaster or male pattern baldness something is always telling me why I should be fearful.

Instead I am making a choice to be hopeful. My faith informs me that there is hope and a Divinity that cares for me. I believe opportunities exist just as much as challenges exist. I know life is not always easy, but it is not all doom either.

As we go into 2017 I pray you can come to see the hope and possibilities in the coming year. We as a nation have overcome so much in our past and I believe we have good days ahead of us. So, in the words of the angel, “do not fear”. Instead of being fearful, be wise, be hopeful and be faithful. Look for opportunities to be prosperous, work hard to create opportunities and enjoy the fruit of your labor and share with those who helped.

Fort Detrick I look forward to 2017 and all that it will bring. I believe in you and your creativity to make it a great year. My faith speaks to the goodness that will come as well as the strength that will be needed to face the challenges that will come. Let us not enter into the New Year fearfully, but let us go boldly with faith and a confidence that we can make it a great year.

God Bless, Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Michael Jeffries.
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