It is noon, four in the afternoon, and now only a few hours away from Christmas. How will you feel this evening? What will you think about? Where are your thoughts right now?
Christmas Eve. The clock's hands show 8 p.m. I've been sitting here for the past two hours, lost among my kin, trying to make sense of the fact that I am even here.
Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas. No other social event could match the pseudo scientific observation of my relatives gathered around the Christmas table, knowing full well that they can't even stand to be near each other for long, yet trying their best to act united, even if just for a few hours… Still, I allow myself to succumb to the warmth of this costume party, reminding myself that after all, we are still a family.
But, this year’s Christmas is different. This Christmas we just can't avoid the fact that the world has changed. Even Uncle Robert, the family political commentator, has stated that "there's no way back - the whole of humanity is sitting around the same table, and they are there to stay." As demonstrated by the current financial crisis, like it or not, connected we are and connected we’ll stay. Aware of it or not, every action we make affects other people the world over, and boomerangs right back at us.
This made me think: Actually, the crisis is pulling us together. And although most of us can't really stand each other (just like in every ordinary family), we have no choice but to unite, since we are responsible for one another, for better or for worse.
But that's not the only thing that's so special about this particular Christmas. Sitting there, listening to my relatives, it suddenly hit me: a new sensation is emerging through the growing uncertainty of our lives. You can almost feel that a collective wish is being formed, a yearning for Christmas' magical white snow to cleanse the pretense, greed, and self-centered thinking that have brought this crisis on our heads. And as history has taught us, when we truly want something, and want it together, it can come true. Besides, it is Christmas, and Santa is coming, what better time is there for wish making?My thoughts carried me far away from our alienated reality, which at the same time felt so near. Imagine how it would feel if we could change from caring for ourselves to caring for one another. How would it feel to live in a world where we would not need to fend for ourselves, because the whole world would do that for us? And we in turn, would do the same for the whole world?In such a world, things like the police, the army, and tax authorities would all but become extinct. There would be no crime because no one would want to hurt another person. On the contrary, people would want only to share and to give.
It depends only on us. If we could change our approach toward the global connection between us and understand that we have to unite, in a few short years our world will be so profoundly different that we will look back to these days in disbelief at how blind we were.
After all, once the whole world has become one large family, and we can no longer escape our new family members. Our future truly depends upon others, but they can no longer be treated only "as others." To truly build a sustainable (global) family life, we have to take all of them, the whole of humanity, into consideration. As Uncle Robert said before we all left my folks' house: "Like it or not Mike, we are one." I smiled. What else could I do?
It is noon, four in the afternoon, only a few hours away form Christmas. How will you feel this evening? What will you think about? Where are your thoughts right now?
Merry Christmas, and make sure you have the key before you shut the door.