The Greatest Gift: A Legacy of Morality and Dignity
by Dr. Alveda King
As we celebrate Christmas and approach the New Year, like many of you, I feel the pressure to overspend and give material gifts to express love to those I hold dear. While giving gifts at Christmas or any time of the year is a perfectly honorable expression of gratitude and love, we should also consider the eternal blessings of placing a priority on intangible gifts that last throughout the ages.
The greatest gift my parents and grandparents passed down to me is a legacy of faith, hope and love connected to our family history, marked by a commitment to service and compassion. While I would love to leave my children and grandchildren a financial legacy of untold millions, I know the most important gift that I can share with them is a true understanding and acceptance of God's will for their lives.
One thing that is true of tangible and intangible gifts is that they all come with return tags. The week after Christmas, stores are bombarded with people participating in the long-practiced ritual of returning gifts they don't want.
Today, many of us whose families passed on legacies of morality and dignity are trading them in for beliefs counter to everything we were taught. I know deep within my soul that my parents and grandparents would be appalled if I traded their lessons and swapped them for the depraved "gifts" of this world.
"So don't worry about these things, saying, 'What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?' These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need." Matthew 6:31-33 NLT
With the new year ahead, we have a remarkable opportunity to "shift the gears." We can put God first in our lives every day. Let us Pray for America.
As a nation, we do not have to look far to find great patriots who worked to right the moral compass of our nation and pass down legacies of morality and dignity. One of the first names that come to mind is the great civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer. Modern-day feminists stand on her shoulders.
She was born in Mississippi in 1917, the youngest of twenty children. Poverty surrounded her. By the time she was thirteen, she had dropped out of school and was picking 200 pounds of cotton a day or more. Like many young Black women, her government sterilized her against her will. This was so common among young Black women that it became known as a "Mississippi appendectomy." Because of this injustice, Hamer and her husband could not bear biological children, so they adopted.
In time, Hamer found the courage to speak out against the atrocities she saw and experienced. People (both Black and White) mocked her for her grammar and manner, but she spoke even louder. Fannie Lou Hamer's voice and actions are her legacies and the greatest gift she could give a nation. Hamer's most famous quote was given when she spoke about her experience of trying to register to vote in Mississippi. "I am sick and tired of being sick and tired."
But we must read all of her writings and listen to the fullness of her speeches to truly understand the legacy of morality and dignity that she has left for us. This brave, indefatigable leader upon whose shoulders we modern women stand was a passionate advocate for life.
She understood that if you were going to fight for human rights, you had to fight for all humans, and she said, "I believe that legal abortion is legal murder." America, this is our legacy. From the founding until today, we have been on a continual march to become that perfect union that places value on life. Fannie Lou Hamer knew it and fought for it even when it became unpopular.
Our parents and grandparents wisely gifted us with a legacy of dignity and morality that places the highest value on human rights, which means all life. I will not dishonor them by returning this legacy for the world's warped view, which disregards the unborn.
As we wind up this year and move ahead to 2023, let's imagine the blessings in store for us if we embrace faith, hope and love, even as we "see" the challenges around us. Let's seek the light; grab hold of the lifeline. Heed our ancestor's prayers as we consider embracing those "legacy values" that many of us have pushed away while chasing the mercurial gifts of the world.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone.
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About Alveda King: Alveda C. King, Ph.D., serves as Chair of the America First Policy Institute's Center for the American Dream. She is the daughter of the late slain civil rights activist, Rev. A. D. King, the niece of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and a Christian evangelist, a graduate of Aidan University. She is the founder of SPEAK FOR LIFE and ALVEDA KING MINISTRIES (www.alvedaking.com). Dr. King is also an acclaimed author, Fox News Channel contributor, Fox Nation host, NEWSMAX blog contributor, twice elected to GA State House, past presidential appointee, 2021 recipient of the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award, and is a film and music industry veteran.