Merry Christmas and Peace WithinGabriel A. Fraire / December 23, 2015
Merry Christmas to all our readers who celebrate Christmas. And a Seasons Greetings to those that do not. But regardless of your religious or non-religious faith for most of us this is a time of year of joy and hope for peace.
It may seem to many like this is not a good year to be joyous. There are so many things that appear to be going wrong. Our state legislature seems determined to save money by punishing the poor; to “help” educate young people by NOT adequately supporting public education; to undermine the health of those who cannot afford the current situation of expensive health care; to feel the environment does not need to be protected from abuse.
On the national level we are in the middle of an extremely abusive Presidential campaign where saying evil is an avenue to gathering votes and where candidates flip-flop their stances depending on prevailing sociocultural winds.
Immigration is a “hot button” and used by many to flame the fires in hopes of dividing us as a people. And, now refugees, created by our wars, are seeking security and are finding objections at every turn. One has to wonder during this time of a great holiday for Christians how can refugees be turned away when Jesus was a refugee. When Mary and Joseph are turned away don’t all Christians believe that this was wrong? So, how can they now turn away current-day refugees?
To compound our problems our Congress seems gridlocked in obstructionism. And, our national media is beginning to appear as if promoting their own agenda is of more importance than truth or accuracy.
All these issues are difficult and trying our patience as Americans. But at this time of year we need to remember what is truly important. Family, friends, self, these are the things we need to cherish. And we need to remind ourselves that love is stronger than hate. We cannot allow national and international controversies to come between us and what is truly important.
Do you have loved ones? Is your health under control? Do you have enough food? Do you have shelter? If you can say yes to any of these you are better off than many.
Cherish your blessings and remain positive. If the story of Mary and Joseph and the birth of baby Jesus tell us anything it tells us that being good, choosing that which is right, is more important than where one sleeps or how the world treats you.
Although it may not seem so, there is much good happening in the world. There are many people choosing to do the right thing.
When we learn that groups of high school girls are beginning to wear head scarfs to show their support of their Muslim friends we have to feel that not all is lost. When we learn that a police officer brings food to a homeless man rather than harassing him this is a good sign. When a university football team threatens to not play unless the University President, with little sympathy for students of color, steps down then it gives hope that we still have a positive future.
At this time of year most of us not only celebrate but we begin to look toward the New Year. For most of us we do this with great hope. This is also a good sign because as long as people care there is always hope.
Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, are all celebrations that make us reflect on our past and think about our future.
The coming year will indeed be another challenging year, as is every year for most of us. And although it seems impossible to imagine Peace on Earth, it is possible to believe that there can be peace within. If each of us tries hard to live a good life and choose a path that does no harm to others then we might be able to have some peace, if not Peace on Earth at least peace within. Merry Christmas.
Gabriel A. Fraire has been a writer more than 45 years. He is the current copy editor of the Peacemaker. He can be reached through his Web site: gabrielfraire.com