December 25th is a national holiday here in the United States, and for many people, a very special and sentimental time. For many others, it can be a day that only celebrates material things and the consumer mindset that has destroyed so much of the world.
Around the globe, the holiday is celebrated by indigenous peoples from South America to Africa. In many of these countries, this day is set aside for the joy of family and food and a time of respect for the traditions of their ancestors.
But in places decimated by war, civil unrest, natural disasters, and poverty, Christmas may be a very painful time. Families have been torn apart, homes destroyed, and hope diminished. In my travels I have seen despair on the faces of children and their parents.
Even as we sit in our comfortable homes drinking hot chocolate, eggnog or something else, many others are going without food and shelter. It is our responsibility and privilege to help each other throughout the year, but especially important during this time. Let us share hope and peace with others through our actions and our intentions.
I gave a few ideas for ways to embrace our communities and give back in a recent blog (“Thanksgiving”), and here are a few more: look abroad for organizations that are responsibly working around the world and join them either with time or money or both; spend time with people in need near you or travel to find some whom you can help and also who can tell you their stories and share their wisdom; instead of giving gifts to loved ones, give them knowledge and let them join you in making a difference.
For many, this is a magical season. Let us use it as a leaping off point into change. Let us celebrate a bit of the magic that we can take with us into the rest of the year as we transform ourselves into the kind of people who can transform the world.