This Christmas – The Choice Is Ours
“Wherever there is a human being there is an opportunity for a kindness” – Seneca
And so it is Christmas Eve although you wouldn’t know it if you dropped by social media today.
There are some who are posting and tweeting references to Christmas in between their ongoing barrage of quotes, political diatribes, self-promotions and whatever else has their underwear riding up but for many, it is just another day at the social media office; bickering, accusing and hating.
It always comes down to the same thing. People want things to improve. They’re angry because of this or that and the post and tweet about it daily; sometimes hourly. Of course, it doesn’t change anything other to raise the hackles of others who then jump in both lips blazing.
It’s like watching the Tea Party in action; a group of people who have decided they will oppose any tax increases for anyone and push the United States over the fiscal cliff which automatically imposes tax increases on everyone. They consider this a victory and believe that the country will blame President Obama and the Democrats as a result of their intransigence.
It takes a special kind of ideological devotion and stupidity to think like that.
Here’s a simple question every single one of us should be asking ourselves today, on this Christmas Eve. “Is what I’m doing bringing me what I want in life?” and here’s another. “Is what we’re doing really making our countries happier places, safer places and more prosperous places in which to live?”
If you can honestly answer yes to those questions, then Merry Christmas to you and carry on with what you were doing.
If you can’t then perhaps it’s time to stop yelling at and blaming everyone else and start listening to the message of Christmas for a moment. Don’t role your eyes; what you’re doing isn’t working so at least have enough common sense to listen to an alternative for a moment.
There isn’t enough listening going on anymore. Everybody’s too busy thinking about what they’re going to say next to hear what anyone else has to say.
Christmas is more than just presents and turkey, decorations and family. It is living proof that we actually have it within ourselves to live lives that are built on goodwill and joy. How many times in your lifetime have you read or heard about someone so caught up in the Spirit of Christmas that they did something extraordinary. Imagine what your town, city, country or even the planet would be like if everybody did that and not just at Christmas but every day.
Imagine a world in which the Spirit of Christmas guided everyone to do one – just one – random act of kindness each and every day of the year. There are more than 6 billion of us on the planet and even if only 2/3 of participated in that act, it would result in more than 1.4 trillion acts of kindness a year.
What do you think? Would that achieve more or less than all the pontificating and acrimony on social media?
Imagine what could be achieved if even a small number of those acts of kindness were directed to helping the poor rather than blaming them for their situation.
Imagine what might happen if some of them were directed to actually working together to overcome our common challenges rather than digging in our heels to demand that only our solution was correct and everyone else must get on board.
Imagine what would happen to each of us if we replaced anger with kindness and respect for others, especially for those with whom we disagree or who disagree with us.
Typically these days, our first reaction is defensive followed by accusation and name-calling.
I know, I know. Some of you are now convinced I’m dreaming in technicolour or that my meds have worn off. But the truth is that I learned a long time ago that if what I was doing wasn’t giving me what I wanted out of my life, then it was time to stop blaming life and time to start changing what I was doing and how I was thinking.
Unlike magnets and metal or even love, when it comes to the energy of life, opposites don’t attract – negative attracts negative and positive attracts positive. You can’t overcome injustice by being unjust and you can’t defeat hate with intolerance and anger.
You cannot be respected by showing no respect for others.
Whether or not, you are a person of faith that is the message of Christmas. It is a message of hope; a reminder that there will be more accomplished through goodwill to all than in all of the petty bickering and yelling we do throughout the year.
Not convinced? Consider where you and your country are today compared to a year ago. How many of the same, tired crisis are you both still facing, still arguing about, still threatened by, still angry about?
I haven’t seen or heard much out of all that noise that gave me much faith that there were any real solutions to be found as a result of it but I have seen countless examples of the power of the hope that Christmas provides.
Christmas is a reminder that we are caretakers, not owners of this world. What we do today is what we bequeath to our children. Do you want to leave them a better world or one that is slowly sinking into a morose of anger, division and uncertainty?
Personally, when I see how children react to the anger and violence that adults thrust into their lives and compare it to the joy and uncompromising happiness they find in Christmas, I have no difficulty understanding which will provide a better opportunity for them and for their future.
There is no future worth having built on stupidity, hypocrisy, anger, accusation and polarization. It takes no thought or courage to hide behind hatred, as we see every day.
There is, however, a future worth having built on the Spirit of Christmas. It is a future based on kindness, goodwill and peace. It isn’t as easy as spewing anger but it is a life infinitely more rewarding and satisfying than anything that can be provided by intolerance and an unwillingness to listen to and respect others.
We have it within ourselves to achieve a better life for ourselves and for the futures of our children.
The only question is how many of us actually have the courage to stop hiding in fear behind our anger and our prejudice and go and live the Christmas message?
© 2012 Maggie’s Bear
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