This is the eleventh day of our Twelve Days of a Scout Christmas. For the next two days you will find inspiring Christmas messages of Scouts giving the gift of living the Scout Oath and Law. Countdown to Christmas with us as you read these daily messages of Scouts being trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.
The eleventh day of Scout Christmas reminds a Scout to be clean. A Scout keeps his body and mind fit and clean. He chooses the company of those who live by high standards. He helps keep his home and community clean. Cleanliness isn’t always something that can be seen. A Scout strives to always be clean in thought and deed, though his hands may be dirty from service and hard work.
This Christmas season as we are especially mindful of the birth of Christ, some may find it a coincidence that the cleanest person to walk the earth was born in a stable. He was always morally, spiritually, and mentally clean. May we all strive to be more like Him.
Scouts may not always be spotlessly clean on the outside. After all, Scouts go camping, hiking, and swimming all the time. And you can often find them painting, digging, planting, or building as they serve others in their communities. But as they get their hands dirty they do so in attempt to make their communities and themselves cleaner through service and good deeds.
In June of 1977, William R. Bradford shared with the Friend magazine a story about being clean and the lesson his son learned after playing in the dirt:
Not long ago I glanced out the window of the mission home kitchen in Santiago, Chile. There behind the house I could see a large English walnut tree with a big pile of dirt under it. Playing in the dirt pile, I spied two little boys. It had rained recently and both boys were covered with mud. I could barely tell who they were. When they saw me looking out the window smiles broke out on their faces, and then I could tell it was my son Chris and his friend David. Chris’s face was so covered with mud that when he smiled his teeth showed through like six small marshmallows on top of a chocolate cake.
Later when it was time to come in and David had gone home, I sent Chris upstairs to bathe. We joked about how it would take three tubs full of water to get him clean. The first would have to be shoveled out just like pure dirt, the second, dipped out with a bucket like runny mud, and maybe we would be able to wash the third down the drain.
After Chris had soaked for a few minutes, I went in to help him get really clean and we had a serious talk that I hope he will never forget.
We worked together to get one hand scrubbed clean and then he compared it with the other that was still dirty. “Boy, Dad,” he said, “it’s sure great to have clean hands.” I explained how true that is, and said, “I want you to know that it is not the dirt of the earth that makes people’s hands really dirty. If a boy steals, if he is mean to his friends and hits them on purpose, if he tells his parents he will do something and then doesn’t, or if he is naughty or disobedient in other ways, this causes real “dirt”—the kind that you can’t wash off with soap and water. It’s the kind of dirt that you have to wear all the time and, even though others can’t always see it on you, you know yourself that inside you are not clean.”
I want all my dear, young friends to know there are different kinds of dirt; one you get on your hands from working and playing. This you can wash off. The other kind of “dirt” comes from doing bad things, sometimes called sin, that seem to stain your heart but can be “washed” away when you repent.
First you must do all you can to correct the wrong you have done. Then ask your Father in Heaven and others to forgive you, so your hands and heart will be “scrubbed clean” from the dirt of wrong-doing.
I hope that you will often get your hands dirty with hard work and play, but I hope that throughout your lives this is the only dirt you will have to get rid of and not the kind that stains your heart through sin or disobedience. I want Chris and all other children to remember that should you slip and fall into sin, you can be washed clean by true repentance.
What joy it is to have clean hands and a pure heart!