Editor's note: I wanted to write a beautiful and inspiring blog to celebrate Christmas and send it to all my friends and family members in lieu of sending cards this year... But current circumstances in the world sort of eclipsed my earlier idea of writing about the holidays in Jolly Ol' England. How can anyone write about "jolly" when there is so much pain in the world?
I'm not talking about my own pain, although my personal journey this past year has been a very rough road by anyone's account. And I realize that my publishers recommend that authors of romantic fiction choose only optimistic and entertaining subjects for our blogs. But sometimes a topic comes to mind and there's no way to put it out of your mind unless you write about it and share your thoughts. So here goes.
Peace on earth. Goodwill to all mankind.
We read these sentiments on Christmas cards, but do we ever truly understand what they mean or the costs involved in acting upon them? Sure, it's nice to wish someone peace and other good things, but if you do nothing to provide a way for your fellow man to live in peace and experience happiness or goodwill, how are you helping the situation? Short answer: You're not. Your actions (or lack-of-action) could actually be part of the problem, too.
Some Americans cry and whine about their rights to bear arms being infringed if there is any talk of gun control. In the wake of recent events it's obvious the gun problem still remains. If you're not a hunter who uses your deer rifle to eat the game you shoot, why would you need to own semi-automatic assault weapons or thousands of hand guns unless you want to use them against your neighbors? Short answer: You don't need to own them. Weapons meant to mow down soldiers in short order are weapons of a potential mass murderer, not a tool to be used by a game hunter trying to feed his or her family. Deer and people are not one in the same.
How can you wish your neighbor "peace on earth and goodwill to all mankind" if you are secretly plotting to kill him or her by stockpiling weapons you don't need in the first place? Short answer: You can't. Stop the whining about gun control and take a hard look in the mirror. Like what you see?
"Goodwill to all mankind" includes wanting what is best for our neighbor. When we allow our neighbors to go without proper health care--up to and including mental health care--how are we showing them we wish them all things "good"? Short answer: We're not. If we deny good things to our neighbors, then we really don't want to wish them "peace and goodwill" do we? We're telling them that we don't care about their plight. It's plain and simple. We're lying. Look in the mirror again. Do you trust this person?
At Christmas, a season known for its emphasis on compassion, how would you describe people who hoard all the good things in life, up to allowing their neighbors to go without proper health care? How would you describe those who are willing to "protect" their material possessions through extreme measures that include possibly using assault weapons against their neighbors? Selfish maybe?
Peace on earth. Goodwill to all mankind.
This Christmas I pray that everyone will think hard about what those words mean. Stop thinking that you exist in a vacuum. Start practicing compassion and stop thinking your neighbor's well-being doesn't matter. It does. Because if we don't start making some changes in our society, it could be you or your beloved child or grandchild who is lying in a coffin with a bullet hole come next year. That is, if a serious illness or accident without access to health care doesn't put you or your loved one in the grave first.
Even the most selfish of us should be able to see that compassion for all benefits us all in the grand scheme of things, right?
Merry Christmas! And as the angels at Bethlehem sang on that special night long ago, "Peace on earth... goodwill to all mankind."
Thanks for reading this far. May your new year be blessed, healthy and happy. Cindy :)