“So this is Christmas
And what have you done.
Another year older
A new one just begun.”
– John Lennon/Yoko Ono
OPINION – It’s never really Christmas for me until I hear the John Lennon-Yoko Ono Christmas song.
It came out during a time when there was a lot of trouble and strife in the world.
Seems we still have a lot of trouble and strife in our world. We haven’t learned much, which is why sometimes, at this time of year, I get the blues.
The message of Christmas, of course, is “Peace on Earth, goodwill to all men (and women).”
It doesn’t differentiate between race, creed, political belief, or any of those other lines that separate us.
It’s simple, really, and oft-repeated, as most of the essential rules of living are, like the most essential rule of all: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”
But, the message continues to fall upon deaf ears.
This doesn’t mean, of course, that we should tolerate injustice, greed, bigotry and just accept that which is evil in this world as a part of our existence. Those folks don’t get a pass.
But it does mean that perhaps, if we can, we should look into each other’s eyes for the truth that is there and search their souls, no matter what their skin, religion, bank account, or any of that other stuff that really doesn’t matter.
We’re as similar as we are different, an enigma, if you will, in this thing we call the human condition.
Basically, however, all any of us really want is a little peace.
It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t remain critical thinkers or be afraid to hold the mirror up to society and reflect its shortcomings. Quite the contrary, it is our responsibility to do so to grow, move forward, fix what we have broken.
Sincerity and truth, however, must be at the heart of it all.
We tend to forget all this stuff until about this time each year when we are inundated by songs and sermons as we max out our credit cards in an annual display of giving. Real giving, however, isn’t about wrapping up a bunch of consumables and piling them under a tree.
Giving comes in calming the hearts and minds of others, offering compassion for those in need or grief, thinking in terms of “we” instead of “me.”
It’s one reason why I always had a problem with the whole Santa Claus thing.
Unless you’ve seen poverty and need, you don’t understand that there are kids who, when they go back to school after the Christmas break, will talk about all the great stuff Santa brought while some of their less fortunate classmates had little, if anything, to open on Christmas morning. There’s an inequity there, of course, and it damages, heavily, the child who feels that perhaps they were not good enough or deserving of a more bountiful Christmas when times and situations play hard on what may, or may not, be under their tree. It’s the same for adults, too, you know.
Nobody deserves to feel inferior.
Our station in life isn’t always predictable, our shortcomings not always self-inflicted, especially in times such as these when we really don’t have a lot of say in what is going down around us.
Our individual attitudes and behavior, you know, affect what we do as a nation, which is why we get upside down in wars, sanctions against one another, and refusal to acknowledge each other in a civil manner.
The thing is, whether you are living in a guarded, secure community or in some Third World ghetto, we are all in this together, and the sooner we realize it, the better off we all will be. We cannot expect, plead, demand peace if we don’t first offer it.
So, what we do really does have impact on our ever-shrinking world.
The John and Yoko Christmas song is a simple little thing, really, a reminder of all of this.
But, there is a power in its simplicity, a noble spirit, a spark of hope that we really can get it together and follow that simple path to a world we’d all like to make a better place.
“A very Merry Christmas
And a Happy New Year.
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear.”
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Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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