WI.Masons.Frank   Many religious Holy Days and celebrations show up on the calendar during these months of November, December, and January. For my wife Wendy, her big event of the year is Christmas. Clark Griswold has nothing on us. The reason we only have two Christmas trees is that there is no room for any more. After all, there is the full sized singing and dancing Santa that delights our Grandchildren. Scattered throughout the house are the fifty some battery driven toys that dance, sing, whistle, and do everything all at once when the Grandkids get to them. By New Years Day when I confiscate the batteries, we are all battle rattled!

Yes, we recognize and celebrate the day as a religious Holy Day as do others of various faiths celebrate this and other events of religious and historical significance, but trust me, in our house it has been about fun for the little ones. Wendy and I have realized that we may have been sending the wrong message. Oh all that junk and fun stuff we have will stay around, but now all of the grandkids will also have the memories of their Grandfather and Grandmother reading from the Holy Writings as part of each visit. We, as a family are bringing back to the forefront our core values and beliefs, where they belong.

This is an easy trap to fall into. Often our Lodges yield to a similar fate. The pitfall is when we focus on the activity and loose sight of our supporting values. Our ritual is our salvation. When we do degree work we instruct a new Mason, but we also repeat those lessons for all those Brothers present. I believe if a lodge does not have three different degrees on its calendar at all times, it is in danger of loosing its way.

Dinners, fundraisers, parties, workdays, and all of those family events that I love so much, must be supported by the key principles of our Brotherhood. We must never loose sight of why Masonry is so much more than a social club. Make sure our new Brothers have the mentoring and support to mature and grow in the Craft. This process produces lifetime friendships. Participate in Masonic study as part of lodge programs. Read about our history and strive to build our Fraternity’s future. Go learn or relearn a part of the degree work. If you are the third ruffian learn and perform the Soliloquy. Masters, make sure the Charges are committed to memory. Reading the Charge is against the Code, and we are better than that.

Incoming officers, practice your lodge opening and closing now before you are in your new positions. Vince Lombardi, who knew a lot about building a winning team, is quoted, “Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.”

Let’s resolve to make December the month we all learn a bit more of our ritual. Science tells us that memorization and problem solving are the best exercises you can give your mind. If you combine that process with your physical exercise while walking, using the stationary bike, elliptical, cross country skiing, swimming or suffering on that contraption I call the “dreadmill”, it makes the memorization more efficient and may help you live better and longer.

I’m sure that I will have some extra Holiday pounds to work off. No, it really is not the bubble in the middle that keeps Masons on the level. Our teachings, mutual respect, and Brotherly Love guide us to that result.

Happy Holidays!

Frank Struble

Grand Master