Concord, NH — Christmas has become a month of celebration and capitalism. Starting before Thanksgiving, we are barraged with advertising telling us the latest and greatest gift-giving ideas for every person on our gift list. Restaurants and taverns do their best to put our friends and us in their establishments to indulge in their holiday offerings. Family traditions enjoyed for years are waning as we become a more homogeneous society, and the stress of the season eats into the time we spend with family.
Throw in the second year of COVID restrictions, and Christmas has become unrecognizable from those of yesterday. These changes are why we should wrap our arms around the real reason for Christmas; the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
God sent his son to Earth in the form of a man because people had lost their way and needed to return to the true purpose of life. Jesus spent thirty years among the people as a teacher, preacher, and prophet. He worked to bring mankind from a material, self-serving world to humanity focused on community and God with his example and word. The powerful saw Jesus and his efforts as a threat and crucified him. Even two thousand years ago, the rich and powerful did what they thought necessary to maintain control and canceled whatever was in their path.
We have lost our way in today’s world. Two years ago, we closed our churches and houses of worship yet kept big box stores and major retail outlets open. We shut down the temples and favored the marketplace. Even today, there are more restrictions on places of worship and education than our malls and retail outlets. Attendance at worship services today has never been lower. This trend can be attributed to fear of crowded spaces and because people’s worship habits were disrupted and slowly reverting.
The country is more divided than at any time since the Civil War. Families and friends have drifted apart. Some relationships are permanently severed because of different political views. We no longer discuss differences but walk away from them instead.
What better time than the Christmas season to do some self-reflection and prioritize what is truly important to us? What better time to reach out to those old friends and heal those scars? What better time to gather the family and rekindle some of those traditions we cherished years ago? Finally, what better time to recenter ourselves and realize that the world does not revolve around us, but we are on this ride around the sun with many?
We do not need Jesus to return to Earth if we acknowledge that he is with us always. We do not need Jesus to tell us we have lost our focus and need to free ourselves of the need for material things. We just need to look to the plethora of storage facilities to store our unneeded “stuff.” We need to return to more spiritual life, whether returning to a church or temple of choice or taking the time to shut down the world and allow our minds to focus on a higher being and calling. And we need to stop being passive participants and become active in making the world a better place for all. We need to recognize those acting for their best interests and work to remove them from their position of power.
We need to accept alternative opinions rather than see them as a reason for conflict. This may seem insurmountable, but it begins with each doing our part. Let common sense and the belief in right and wrong. Let the shining star in the sky lead the way, and let’s hope we have not strayed so far that we cannot find our way home to the ones we love.
merry Christmas and God Bless you and yours.
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