Americans today are searching for a leader, a good man who stands on principle and can lead us to adopt the right policies for our nation. Leadership requires many important qualities, and one we sometimes overlook is that a leader must be willing to take risks for the cause he believes in. I suggest that anyone who is trying to be a leader should carefully study the character and the decisions made by George Washington.
The most important Christmas since the Birth of Christ was Christmas Day in 1776. That’s the day a courageous, risk-taking General George Washington turned the tide of the American Revolution by his famous crossing of the Delaware River. It was a bitterly cold night and it was sleeting. His soldiers were poorly clad, some had no shoes. Washington's plan to cross the Delaware River and attack the Hessian mercenaries who occupied Trenton, New Jersey, risked everything. If it failed, the dream of American independence would die.
The American troops boarded boats to cross the river at dark, reached the Jersey side at 3 a.m., and it was 8 in the morning when they made contact with the enemy. After about an hour of ferocious fighting, the Americans defeated the well-trained, well-fed, well-clothed, and well-rested Hessian soldiers, who surrendered about 9 a.m. The Americans took 948 prisoners, including 32 officers and many horses and firearms. A British historian later wrote: “It may be doubted whether so small a number of men ever employed so short a space of time with greater or more lasting results upon the history of the world.”
George Washington recognized God's help in this Christmas victory. He wrote his troops: “The Providential goodness which we have experienced demand from us the warmest returns of gratitude and piety to the Supreme Author of all good.”
Listen to the audio version of this commentary.