America is still light of world

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 23, 2015

By Rep. Bradley Byrne

A few weeks ago, I was holding a town hall meeting on Facebook where I answered questions from my constituents. Most of the questions related to issues like local transportation projects, illegal immigration and the fight against terrorism.

One question really stuck out to me though. Raymond asked me how I remain optimistic in light of so many bad things that are happening in our country and around the world. As we celebrate Christmas, I believe this is an important topic that we should all take time to reflect on.

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Our nation is facing many challenges, and I know that most Americans are understandably afraid about our national security and the direction our country is heading. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is a radical terrorist regime that is focused on attacking Americans, but we cannot allow this vile enemy to change the way we live our lives.

If we live in fear, then these terrorist organizations win. We should all be vigilant and never hesitate to report something that seems unusual to the proper authorities, but continue to go about your lives this Christmas season as you normally would.

I take great comfort in knowing we have remarkable men and women all across the globe who are fighting to defend the United States and the values we hold dear. These people are on ships and in various countries abroad, and they won’t be able to spend time with their families this Christmas because they are busy serving our country. Let’s make sure to keep them in our prayers.

I also take comfort in our police officers and first responders who will also work throughout the holidays. These individuals put others above themselves in an effort to keep our local communities safe and secure.

As we go through these challenging times, I am also constantly motivated by my faith. At Christmas it is especially easy to get caught up in all these worldly events, but there is obviously something much greater than us taking place. So I am comforted by the fact that I serve an all-loving God who will continue to provide for me even when the going gets tough.

I’m also inspired by the grit and determination of the American people. Our nation has been through very difficult times before. We have faced enemies both at home and abroad, and each time we have risen to the challenge and overcome the challenges before us. I don’t expect this time will be any different.

In August, I had the opportunity to visit Israel with some of my Congressional colleagues to learn more about the relationship between our two countries. During one of the stops, our tour guide, an Israeli citizen, made a comment that has stuck with me. He said that we, as Americans, are the light of the world and a beacon of hope for all those in despair.

This comment reminded me of one of my favorite Bible verses, which is John chapter one, verse five. It reads, “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

This Christmas, may we all try to be a light of love and hope for those in our own communities who are struggling, and may our nation continue to be a light of freedom that shines all across the globe.

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne represents the 1st Congressional District of Alabama, which includes Escambia County.