Monday, December 27, 2010

ATM Sunday Message for December 26, 2010

Confederate Christians and fellow Compatriots:

Below is my message for Sunday, December 26th.  Please feel free to reply or forward.  Your comments and efforts are always appreciated.  It may also be used as an article in your camp or other newsletter.

It is my hope that you all had a very merry Christmas and look forward to a happy and prosperous new year.

May our Lord bless you in His service and in service to our most worthy Confederation.

Bro. Len Patterson, Th.D
Chaplain, Army of Trans-Mississippi
Member, Chaplain's Corps Committee
Sons of Confederate Veterans
 The Last Confederate Christmas.

Recently, I had the privilege to speak at a very elegant affair and banquet called, "Christmas in Dixie." It was co-sponsored by the Sons of Confederate Veterans, camp 124, the Order of Confederate Rose, chapter 31, and the Military Order of Stars and Bars, chapter 261. Plus, there were a number of ladies with the United Daughters of the Confederacy attending. The event was also historic, in that 77 years ago, in 1933, the last reunion of Confederate Veterans of the Tyler, Texas area was held in the same building. Period dress was requested and it was an impressive and festive occasion to say the least. My wife (Jan) and I enjoyed it immensely and are very pleased to have been invited.

In the process of preparing my presentation to these fine ladies and gentlemen of the South, I came across an article written in 1897. It was titled, Eggnog in Atlanta, and recounted the last Confederate Christmas in that great city. I did not use it in my message, because the banquet was intended to be a joyous and gala affair, and this article made me both sad and mad.

In December, 1863, the citizens of Atlanta were happy and prosperous. They were buying and selling and getting ready for a merry Christmas and a happy 1864. The article stated, "The outlook was growing brighter, and that the next Christmas would be a peaceful one under the flag of the triumphant Confederacy." Of course we know it was not to be. This was to be their last Confederate Christmas.

By December 1864, Atlanta, called "The Citadel of the Confederacy," was in ruins. The article read, "This shattered and blasted wreck of a city was then the most desolate spot on the continent." It went on to say, "There were no Christmas shoppers, no Christmas shops, and no Christmas." For the Union, it had become a war against civilians. To men like Sherman, every Southerner was an enemy, and every home and business a target to be destroyed.

As I read this article and several others which were similar in nature, I became more acutely aware of something I already knew, as I'm sure most of you know also. Winning the war and beating the South into submission to it's new idea of a centralized government, and justifying it's illegal invasion and criminal acts was not the end of the Union's ultimate strategy. They had to destroy who we were, and still are. They had to crush our Southern traditions, our Southern customs, and our Southern heritage. They have to be sure that 150 years ago was the last Confederate Christmas.
When I spoke at the "Christmas in Dixie" banquet, I said that the Christmas message can be summed up in two words: Love and Life. Notice John 3:16. I did not speak of Union atrocities or their ultimate desire to destroy our heritage. I told them that Jesus said, "I am come that they may have life." (Jn. 10:10) And also, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." (Jn. 14:6) Yes, the Christmas message is all about God's love and our life.
I'm very glad I was invited to take part in the "Christmas in Dixie" banquet in Tyler, Texas. It was a Confederate Christmas, so I can firmly state the Union strategy has failed. And since it is an annual event, I also know it won't be the last Confederate Christmas.

Bro. Len Patterson, Th.D
Chaplain, Army of Trans-Mississippi
Sons of Confederate Veterans

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