Good Stuff

Our Christmas Wishes

PEACE, PROSPERITY, PURPOSE … FOR ALL PEOPLE It’s Christmas … well, almost. The big day is nearly upon us, and regardless of whether you are among those who subscribe to Christian orthodoxy – or are among those actively seeking to scrub it from your “happy holidays” – it’s hard to argue with the…

PEACE, PROSPERITY, PURPOSE … FOR ALL PEOPLE

It’s Christmas … well, almost.

The big day is nearly upon us, and regardless of whether you are among those who subscribe to Christian orthodoxy – or are among those actively seeking to scrub it from your “happy holidays” – it’s hard to argue with the season’s greetings delivered by the angel of the Lord that first Christmas night.

“I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people,” the angel said.

All people. Talk about the definition of inclusivity … delivered first to lowly shepherds, it’s worth noting.

Reading further into the gospel of Luke the Evangelist, we learn these universally available tidings were for “peace on earth” and “good will toward men.”

Talk about a definition of commonality …

In the Christian tradition, all of these things revolve around the immaculate, infant birth in the city of Bethlehem of Jesus Christ – who is currently worshiped as Lord and Savior by an estimated 2.3 billion people on our terrestrial sphere.

That’s nearly one out of every three human beings.

Here’s the thing, though: You can say “Merry Christmas” – and more importantly you can embrace these Christmas tidings – whether you believe in Jesus or not (or whether you believe in any God, for that matter).

How is this possible?  It’s easy …

It goes without saying that our faiths define us and empower us – but only up to a certain point.

While the faithful view life as one great big mission field in which we share our beliefs with others in the hopes of attracting them to our banner – it is not up to us as humans to pass judgment on anyone else’s eternal destiny.  In other words, just as morality cannot be legislated … faith cannot be forced.

Nor should we ever use instruments of coercion (i.e. terror, the force of arms or government edicts) to try and impose our beliefs on others.

There’s a flip side to that coin, though.  It is similarly not up to us to limit the inherent goodness associated with the miracle of a virgin birth that took place more than 2,000 years ago.

Whether you acknowledge this birth – or its impact – is irrelevant.  The lesson remains the same.  The tidings are unchanged.

(Click to view)

Adoration of the shepherds

(Via iStock)

And what is that lesson?  What are the tidings of which we speak?

The lesson is simple: That we should seek to show goodness in ourselves – and seek to find it in others.

That we should, in Christ’s words, “love our neighbor” – which is anyone and everyone else with whom we come in contact (but especially those in need).

“For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you,” Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount.  “If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?”

We’re following this advice today … setting aside our political criticisms, ideological biases and preconceived stereotypes and simply offering up to all people, everywhere, our best wishes for “peace on earth.”

Those wishes extend to those wishing us well … and ill.  And they extend to you.  And yours.

Clearly, “wishing well” will not make peace on earth magically appear.  As the old saying goes, “wish in one hand, crap in the other … and see which one gets filled first.”

And it goes without saying peace cannot be achieved without strength – especially in a sinful world full of individuals predisposed to prey on the very open-mindedness articulated herein.

Just this past week, for example, we saw the latest brutal, bloody reminder of the hate mankind is capable of generating – and unleashing on its fellow human beings.  We’ve also seen this week a reigniting of old geopolitical tensions that threaten to unleash even greater, more destructive hate upon the people of the earth.

Aggressions against life and liberty cannot and should not be allowed to stand.  After all, the only thing more dangerous than living in a world with imperfect justice is living in a world where justice is not sought.

But as this website has repeatedly noted, such aggressions shouldn’t be needlessly stoked either – especially when the primary motivation for the stoking is profiteering, not peace.

(Click to view)

US military

(Via iStock)

Wherever we look, it seems, “peace” is imperiled – and more often than not it is the über-wealthy seeking the accumulation of even greater riches doing the imperiling.

Also, those who seek peace often risk signing their death warrants.

Take the late U.S. president John F. Kennedy.  Viewed as a liberal Democrat at the time of his death in 1963, had he run for president in 2016 he would have likely been the most fiscally conservative candidate in the field.  To say nothing of a “moderate” on social issues.

But a generation ago he was dangerous.  Too dangerous to let live.

During a June 1963 commencement address at American University, Kennedy articulated his vision for the conduct of the Cold War against Russia – seeking “not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women … not merely peace in our time but peace for all time.”

“Let us not be blind to our differences – but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved,”  Kennedy said.  “For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet.  We all breathe the same air.  We all cherish our children’s future.  And we are all mortal.”

Again, at the global, national, neighborhood or interpersonal level, the equation we are confronted with is so jarringly simple: Show goodness in ourselves … seek it in others.

Caveats are not hard to come by either: Take that to which you are rightfully entitled, but no more.  Earn all you can, share all you can … knowing that none of it can be taken with you.  Or with your children.  Or their children.

Do not provoke others to wrath unnecessarily, but if provocations cannot be deterred by turning the other cheek – then do not fear to dispense that judgment once reserved only for the Amalekites.

Just know there will be an accounting for all of it.  Every penny, every action.  Every reaction.  Every thought.  Every motivation.

Everything … because as the great gladiator Maximus once said, “what we do in this life echoes in eternity.”  And it does, whatever your conception of that eternity may be.

In the here and now, though, America is more divided than it has ever been.  Just scroll down your social media feeds – or hear the thinly-veiled venom spewed from the corporate-owned media mouthpieces if you don’t believe us.

Hate is thriving here.

Abroad, the world is literally tearing itself apart along racial, ethnic, religious and nationalistic lines.

Hate is thriving everywhere.

Amidst such a dark, brooding backdrop it is easy to dismiss Christmas.  To eschew its glad tidings.  To vainly indulge the hip political correctness that instinctively dismisses this season and its author as artifacts of a bygone, close-minded era.

We can do that.  We can very easily wrap ourselves in fleeting materialism and ignore the lesson we are supposed to learn this weekend.

But read the story.  Hear the tidings.  And most importantly, think about what they are calling us to do in our own lives.  When you do, you’ll see there is no more inclusive and accessible a moment in our shared history that that first Christmas night in Bethlehem – even if you are one of the 4.9 billion people on the planet who are not believers in Jesus Christ.

Accordingly, please accept our sincerest wishes for peace, prosperity and purpose this Christmas season.  We hope glad tidings and good news fill the days ahead for you and all those you care about.

(Banner via iStock)

***

Related posts

Good Stuff

‘Joyful Justice’ Memorial Day Road Race

Will Folks
Good Stuff

America Needs More Babies

Will Folks
Good Stuff

Prioleau Alexander: Everyone Has At Least One Good Book In Them

E Prioleau Alexander

Leave a Comment