Keep Calm and Carry On

Keep Calm and Carry On

Keep Calm and Carry On! This was one of the mottoes of Great Brittan’s propaganda posters in the late 1930’s during World War II, though this particular poster was never seen by the public until over 50 years later. Owners of a used book store in the northern part of England discovered it in a box of dusty books they bought at auction. After framing it and hanging it in the shop, it has drawn world wide notability. Reproduced millions of times on posters, greeting cards, coffee mugs and key chains.

My question to you is why, over a half century later, is this simple two tone orange poster so popular?

Our lives have gotten so complex and so busy that when events happen that disrupt our natural flow, we tend to become entirely too stressed – I for one am an expert on this. When these posters were originally made, Great Brittan was under daily threat of invasion. Bombs being dropped and exploded all over England were destroying the way of life for an entire country. Londoners were spending night after night in the tunnels of the London Underground, trying to stay safe from the nightly air raids. But England wanted to bolster the resilience of its people.

Your_Courage,_Your_Cheerfulness,_Your_Resolution_Will_Bring_Us_Victory.svg Freedom_Is_In_Peril_Defend_It_With_All_Your_Might.svgSo in an effort to bring a reminder of simple truths, three posters were commissioned and two of them were placed all over England. The poster program was scraped under criticism just months after it was put into production.

Keep Calm and Carry On seemed to be the simplest and straight forward message in a time of turmoil. Over 2 million posters were printed, but very few were ever used and the poster faded into obscurity until it was rediscovered in 2000.

In today’s world, not everyone has exploding bombs going off in their back yards, but sometimes events in our lives do explode and destroy what we have come to know as ‘normal’. It could be a natural disaster, the diagnosis of a debilitating or terminal illness, a tragic accident, loss of a job or the separation of a family – all can throw life into chaos.

It doesn’t even need to be an event of epic proportions. A simple flat tire or an bare refrigerator when the the back account is empty can be enough. Stress saps our energy and spins our minds out of control – again something I am all too familiar with.

I am reminded a bit of when the Israelites had escaped Egypt and had just made it to the far side of the Red Sea. The Egyptian Army, lead by the Pharaoh himself, was now chasing them through the dry land in the Red Sea – the same dry land the Israelites had just passed over. God told Moses to “Be still and know that I am God.” God himself would destroy the army, Moses and the people of Israel only had to be calm.

How similar is this statement from God to the poster from World War II. When life seems to be coming at us from all sides, when we feel like the bombs are raining down on us, when it feels like life will never get back to normal, all we have to do is put our trust in the One that can move mountains, the one who calms the raging sea, the one who loves you so much, he is ready to gather you up as a hen gathers her chicks. All we have to do is let him. There are times when God calls us to action, but often all we need is to do is Keep Calm and Know He is God.


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