Gratitude: the state of being grateful.
Grateful: appreciative of benefits received.
Christmas is a time of year, not for seeing how many presents you can get from those around you, but to be grateful for what you have, even if you have almost nothing. It’s a time to remember all those who have sacrificed and gave of themselves to do something for you, even when they weren’t asked.
Above all it’s a time to express how much we love one another and, if only for one day, set aside the petty crap that seems to fill up our lives the other 364 days of the year.
There is always someone who is worse off than you, no matter how bad off you might be.
There is always someone better off than you, no matter how well off you might think you are.
This Christmas I’m going to ask you to be grateful to all the men and women who serve us in our various local and national police forces.
While that may come as a surprise to those who read my articles week in and week out about my condemnation of corrupt and criminally violent police, it really shouldn’t come as a surprise. My condemnation of the bad and corrupt cops is really just a lopsided expression of my appreciation for the good cops we have.
We are, in fact, blessed with a great many fantastic police men and women all across this great country.
Some of them are struggling far more than you and I this Christmas, and they can certainly use our thoughts and prayers at this time of the year. After all, what does it really cost us to sit for a moment and be thankful for them and the job they do so thanklessly all year round on our behalf?
While there are many families I could specifically ask you to think about and pray for this Christmas, I’m going to focus on one family in Lakeland, Florida who has just lost their son and brother: Police Officer Arnulfo Crispin.
At around 10pm on December 18th, 2011, Officer Crispin responded to a call about suspicious activity in a park where drug dealers did their business and the kids dared not play.
He was shot and left for dead as three young men ran from the scene.
Two hours later he was desperately clinging to life in the Lakeland Regional Medical Center, his family devastated.
A terribly misguided young man, just 19 years old, was arrested and charged the following morning with attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer. That charge has been upgraded… dropping the “attempted” portion now that Officer Crispin has died.
Lakeland Police Chief Lisa Womack was in contact with the slain officer’s family, who is, as I said earlier, utterly devastated by his death.
She said the officer comes from a "very large, loving family who are absolutely devastated by this. There are no words to describe what is occurring there. His mother and father and multiple brothers and sisters are at the hospital."
So, as you wake up Christmas morning, be grateful that you have woken up at all.
For the Crispin family, Christmas will never be the same, ever again.
Remember that no matter how bad your own personal circumstances may be today, you will be hard pressed to think of yourself as worse off than Officer Arnulfo Crispin, who died on December 21st, or his parents, brothers and sisters as they mourn the loss of their son and brother just a few days before Christmas.
It’s such a simple thing, isn’t it? Yet we never really manage to take the time to be grateful, do we?
This Christmas I would ask that you take a little time to be grateful for all our fine police men and women who do their best to keep our world safe, day in, day out, while we take them and their service for granted.
I would also ask that you take a special moment to say a prayer for the family of Police Officer Arnulfo Crispin as they try to come to terms with the loss of their son and brother. I cannot begin to imagine how hard this Christmas will be for them.
If you can’t bring yourself to pray for the Crispin family, then, at the very least, please just be grateful you’re not walking in their shoes on Christmas Day 2011.
As for me and my house, we will be lighting a candle and saying a prayer for the Crispin family.
It’s the very least we can do.