Recently, the nation bid farewell to former President George H. W. Bush. As we have continued to reflect on his life and his legacy of service, it is obvious that he placed a high value on service,volunteers and nonprofit organizations.
When President Bush accepted the presidential nomination at the 1988 Republican National Convention, he spoke highly of America’s volunteer organizations, calling them “a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky.” He repeated the sentiment in his 1989 inaugural address. During his presidency, President Bush handed out Point of Light Awards six days each week to recognize volunteers, and in 1995 he helped create the Points of Light Foundation to promote non-governmental solutions to social issues.
As we remember President Bush, it seems fitting that his passing would coincide with the holiday season, a time when so many cultures focus on finding the light, both literally and metaphorically.
In the Jewish tradition, Hanukkah is the Jewish Festival of Lights, remembering the miracle of the Temple’s lamp burning for eight days when there was only enough oil for one day. In the Christian tradition, Advent is a time of expectation and preparation for the celebration of Christmas, during which candles are lit on the Advent wreath. In the Hindu, Sikh, and other Eastern traditions, Diwali, known as the festival of lights, celebrates the victory of good over evil. In these and many other faith traditions, light plays an important role during this season. It is a remembrance of the past while symbolizing the bright promise of a new year on the horizon.We are grateful to people like President Bush and the countless volunteers and nonprofit organizations that work to bring out the light in local communities. Our hope is that, as we work to support these“thousand points of light,” we can help their lights burn brighter in every corner of the Pacific Northwest. This holiday season, whatever tradition you may celebrate, we stand alongside you in shining the light, both now and all year long.