Niagara Gazette — As President Obama said during his emotionally charged 20-minute eulogy delivered to the roaring stadium crowd, Mandela was the “last great liberator of the 20th century.” He was not only a man of politics, but a pragmatist and a flawed human being who managed to discipline his anger to turn centuries of oppression into what Mandela liked to call a “Rainbow Nation.”
The president continued, “It took a man like Madiba to free not just the prisoner, but the jailer as well; to show that you must trust others so that they may trust you; to teach that reconciliation is not a matter of ignoring a cruel past, but a means of confronting it with inclusion, generosity and truth,” Obama said. “He changed laws, but he changed also hearts.”
The much loved lessons of the most appreciated Christmas time movies and music should be heeded not just during this holiday season, but year round. I think at least one Christmas song seems to fit to moment fairly well.
Written in 1739 by Charles Wesley, brother of the founder of the Methodist Church, John Wesley; it was set to Felix Mendelsohn’s 1840 cantata to commemorate Johan Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press.
Who has not sung, or hummed the lyrics from “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”?
While it would not be fair in any sense to compare Mandela to Jesus, isn’t it fitting that he would die at Christmas time giving us another clear reminder of the real Christmas Spirit and the actual “Reason for the Season?”
As Mlangeni said to the crowd standing in the rain, a symbol of hope and blessings in the South African culture, “It would be in our collective wisdom ... to uphold the values of Nelson Mandela.”
Come on, get in the spirit and sing it with me:
Hark the herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled”
Joyful all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With angelic host proclaim:
“Christ is born in Bethlehem”
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”
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