I am having a bit of difficulty this year getting into the spirit of the holiday season. Christmas is a truly magical time and it is an inclusive holiday. While its roots may be based in Christianity, there are people whose background is not Christian who truly enjoy the spirit of Christmas – sharing gifts and time with family and friends. The sparkle of lights on a Christmas tree or adorning the exterior of a home bring a touch of joy during these days of winter when we experience the least amount of daylight. There are food drives and all sorts of fund-raisers to ensure that every family can enjoy this holiday and children will find a present from Santa under the tree.
This year, Hanukkah starts at sundown tonight (December 7th) and continues on through December 15th. Hanukkah is also known as the feast or festival of lights due to the importance of candle-lighting. There are special holiday foods that are shared with family and friends. There is also an emphasis on giving to charities.
Yes, the origin stories of Christmas and Hanukkah are different. But the spirit is similar. And this is true for all aspects our lives. We want our families, our children, to be happy, healthy and safe. We want to love and be loved. We all want to be treated with dignity and respect regardless of our religion, skin colour, gender, age or sexual orientation.
So what is causing my Christmas blues? Perhaps I’m too tuned into the news of the world. The war between Russia and Ukraine; the Israel/Hamas war; the vitriol and lies being spewed by Trump and the distinct possibility that he may once again become the US President; mass shootings; hate crimes.
What do we as a human race need to do to stop the violence we perpetrate against one another simply because we are not carbon copies of one another? Can we not instead search out our similarities, our common ground? We cannot change what happened in the past. History details the many wars and injustices. We don’t need to hold onto that hate – we should instead learn lessons from our shared history. And, yes – it is a shared history because we are all members of the human race.
It may be artist Jimi Hendrix, former British PM William E. Gladstone or Indian spiritualist Sri Chinmoy Ghose who first said, “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” This year, my wish to each and every one of you is “Peace on Earth and goodwill to all”.
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