This Christmas just didn’t seem as jolly as most holidays I have every experienced - as far back as I can remember. It seems darker, gloomier, and less full of hope than the previous holiday celebrations. The economy as turned sour and gone south for the winter like the migratory birds do. And with its flight the optimism of many folks I know has fled as well.
All around us foreclosures abound, people we know are losing their homes. Many of our friends have experienced lay-offs or pay cuts. Some political and financial leaders have violated the public trust to such an extent that the whole nation, and ergo the whole world, has been affected adversely. Terrorists continue to murder or plot to murder innocent people planet wide. Disease, famine, genocide, political chaos and ineptitude have made portions of Africa the epitome of human suffering.
Under such an environment it is easy to be overwhelmed with concern and fear. It is too easy to become cynical and suspicious in such an atmosphere. It especially hit home when my wife and I sat down back in November to discuss our holiday gift giving budget. Prudently we agreed that it was a wise course of action to cut back on spending and make our celebration work with a little less.But against this backdrop it occurred to me that with less time and money spent on procuring presents, we might find more time for the good things that the holiday season represents. To borrow from Dr. Seuss’s classic poem, ‘THE GRINCH’, "Maybe Christmas", he thought, "doesn't come from a store." "Maybe Christmas... perhaps... means a little bit more!" Maybe, I reasoned, we might find something more profound under the tree this year that maybe was crowed out by presents in the past. Perhaps there would be more room for the spirit of Christmas and the hope that comes with every New Year.
This is a secular forum and I don’t want to seem to be merely putting forth a religious message. I think there is a Christmas holiday message that goes beyond strictly parochial interests – Peace on Earth, Good Will toward Men. It is this message of hope, good will, peace and charity that can be universal. So, be you Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Scientologist, Agnostic or Atheist I hope that you can appreciate and relate to the intrinsic good in mankind and individually make a contribution towards the fulfillment of the common virtues that are in the positive nature of people everywhere. Therefore, regardless of what the holiday season means to you, it is my hope that we all found that positive nature under the Christmas tree this holiday season, so that we can take it with us into what will prove to be a challenging New Year.
Allan D. Pierson
Santa Rosa Beach, FL