The arrival of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday a few weeks after Christmas is a good piece of timing. Just as we’ve tucked away all the yuletide talk of peace and brotherly love along with the holly and ornaments, the King holiday reminds us once again about the promise of good will.
Most of us can summon enough virtue to be at least a little tolerant and generous for the holidays. King’s life, though, demonstrated that real human progress depends on a more sustained commitment to what Abraham Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature.”
That’s why today’s observance of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday cannot be enough. The real challenge is living King’s message every day of the year.
That’s a tall order, and nearly half a century after King’s death at the hands of an assassin, the world needs peace, justice and mutual respect now more than ever.
King called us to a more perfect world. His work remains undone decades after his passing, and that job will remain unfinished, we suspect, long after those of us observing today’s holiday are gone, too.