December is a month of holidays, some religious, some secular, but all worthwhile. I think that people often get so caught up in the media- and politically-inspired drama that they forget about the reason for this season. That being kindness, forgiveness, and charity.
It doesn’t matter if your Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Rastafarian, Humanist, Agnostic, or an Atheist (or anyone else I forgot here). We can all set aside our differences for a month and just enjoy being alive, being human, and sharing some kindness with our neighbors regardless of who they are, where they come from, or what they look like.
I feel like the world has taken a weird turn and there’s so much more animosity and fear of “the other” than I’ve ever seen. So many people seem to believe that you’re either with them or against them…there’s no longer a middle ground. Just because someone looks different or believes differently, then they are the enemy. Where does that come from? What set us on this course?
What happened to being able to agree to disagree? I know people who are on the opposite side of the political spectrum, but we can still have civilized conversations about policy. But these are people I’ve known for years. We respect each other despite our different political and religious views. We don’t try and convince each other to change our minds. We don’t yell and call each other names. We simply talk.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the norm any longer. Now I talk to someone new that I’ve met and they find out I don’t agree with them on some topic – taxes, health care, whatever – and they immediately hate me. They call me un-American, a fascist, or tell me I’m going to burn in hell. I’ve even been threatened with violence simply because I told a person I voted for a politician they didn’t like.
What the hell is going on in the world? Why is there so much hatred? I don’t understand. I really don’t.
And no, there’s no War on Christmas or any other holiday. Most people generally like Christmas and all the trappings that come with it. The reality is that there are people out there who celebrate something else or believe something else. Just because they don’t say, “Merry Christmas”, doesn’t mean it’s a personal attack on anyone’s beliefs. They simply want the opportunity to be included and accepted just like you and your beliefs are. What’s wrong with that? Again, it’s just another way that politicians and the media have created controversy where none existed.
The thing is, I used to wonder why people seemed to be more charitable, more generous, more friendly during December. Why did they have to wait for one month out of the year to do all these things, to give canned goods to a food bank, or money to an animal shelter? Shouldn’t they be doing this year-round?
Now days, however, I wonder if people can even set aside one month to be kind and generous. At the moment, I don’t think so. Here we are, right in the middle of all the winter religious and non-religious holidays, the ones that promote love for your neighbors and strangers, and yet there’s still so much fear and hatred. I see people being shitty to one another in the grocery store, at the gas station, on the news at night, and it breaks my heart.
For what it’s worth, I hope that you get to spend time with people you love. I learned a long time ago that family isn’t necessarily the people you are related to. Your family are the people who are there for you when you need them, who support and encourage you, and don’t pass judgement on you.
And for anyone who’s alone out there, keep in mind that someone, somewhere, cares about you. You may not realize it, but they’re out there. Don’t give up on finding them.
Whatever you celebrate or believe, I wish you health and happiness. There’s not enough of that in the world at the moment. Let’s see if we can change that.