The final day of the 12 days of a Scout Christ­mas reminds us that a Scout is reverent. Reverence means to have deep respect for others and God.

It was December 1777 in Pennsylvania.

The harsh temperatures cut through the Valley Forge camp. Nearly 3,000 men stood barefoot, lacking clothing. They didn’t have the provisions they wanted–and needed.

At that moment in time, George Washington said, the spirit of desertion had never been so high.

In a letter to Patrick Henry on December 27, he addressed these concerns and stated:

“I assure you, Sir, it is not easy to give you a just and accurate idea of the sufferings of the Troops at large. Were they to be minutely detailed, the Relation so unexpected—so contrary to the common opinion of people distant from the Army, would scarcely be thought credible.”

A famous painting by Arnold Friberg depicts Washington, in the midst of these circumstances, knelt in prayer next to his horse, asking for divine aid.

While it is unknown whether Washington knelt in prayer during these dark circumstances, it is known that he prayed regularly and maintained a reverence towards God throughout his life.

He kept a prayer journal with prayers for various days of the week. He praised God in speeches and private devotion. In fact, according to Wikipedia, he mentions God 146 times in writings we have from him.

In his farewell address, he tells the nation they cannot have ethics without faith:

“And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

He also maintained a reverence towards mankind. He frequently signed the end of his letters, ” yr most obt servnt. ”

Almost 240 years ago, George Washington experienced a Christmas that was harsh, cold, demanding, and potentially hopeless. Yet, he had a deep reverence for what and who he was fighting for.

Your Boy Scout may not be standing out barefoot in the cold on this Christmas day, but he can maintain a reverence for God and fellow men as he celebrates today. Remind him of the meaning behind the lights, packages, trees, candy canes, and family fun.

Merry Christmas!

For the past twelve days, the Voice of Scout­ing has created inspir­ing Christ­mas mes­sages based on the twelve points of the Scout Law: A Scout is trust­wor­thy, loy­al, help­ful, friend­ly, cour­te­ous, kind, obe­di­ent, cheer­ful, thrifty, brave, clean and rev­er­ent.

This year, the Christ­mas mes­sages focused on the lives of his­tor­i­cal fig­ures and times when they exem­pli­fied a point of the Scout Law.

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