Dougherty County Sheriff Kevin Sproul: Christmas Thoughts
Wednesday, December 20th, 2017
2017 has been a stormy year. The year literally blew in with a major windstorm that caused significant damage and hardship for many in our community. Yet, the community responded with an outpouring of support. Then, a few weeks later, we were hit again. More damage, more hardship. And again, the community responded. A few months later, another storm. A few months after that, a hurricane. Yet each time, the community found a way to pull together, help each other, and begin to heal.
As horrific as these storms were, they were not the worst storms to plague our community this year. There have been many, many personal storms that have raged in the lives of those who live here. Far too often, those storms erupted into violence. At the time of this writing, twenty-one citizens have lost their lives. For these storms too, our community has responded. Politicians and concerned citizens alike have become activists to address the issue of violence in our community.
Now, here we are at the end of the year and entering into the Christmas season. One might think that we, as a community, would be shell-shocked and battle weary; however that is not what I see. Rather, I see a community that is battle-proven and ready to press on. We have found a way to heal, to help each other, and to become stronger through our struggles. I see a community full of people who are willing to give of themselves to help others. They truly exemplify the love that Jesus commanded.
In John 15:12, Jesus said, “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” The love that Jesus showed for us was truly sacrificial, giving everything he had for us. This is the kind of love that can truly transform a person, a family, or a community.
During this Christmas season, I will be thinking of ways I can demonstrate this kind of love in every area of my life. I strongly encourage others to do the same. We all saw this kind of love demonstrated in the aftermath of catastrophe, but can you imagine if we saw it every day? Can you imagine how powerful that would be?
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” My greatest wish for each of you this Christmas is that you experience love. I hope you experience the love of others in your life. But even more, I hope you experience the feeling of love for others within your own heart. This is truly the greatest gift.
With that, I wish everyone a very safe and warm Christmas. Please remember those who don’t have family or can’t be with their family during this season. Please also remember those who may be experiencing their first Christmas without their loved one who was taken away from them due to storms or violence. Try to include them in your holiday plans; there is no better way to share your joy. Also, please remember that we at the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office are always here for you if you need us. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!