We’re in this holiday season and a common question between friends and family is “What do you want for Christmas?” And not that there is anything wrong with that question, but given our culture of materialism and the quick fix that more stuff will bring, a season that most people would describe as a giving season becomes more about the getting. Though I suppose one person’s giving is another person’s getting.
I’ve read a few blogs these past few days about what people are hoping to get for Christmas. A good friend asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I told him, “Nothing.” He asked me three more times and each time I said ‘nothing.’ I eventually amended it to “I don’t need anything.” And that is a true statement. I don’t need anything. Sure it might be nice to have a nicer camera, and a person can always use more lacy undies but I can get by without them. And I certainly don’t need more stuff.
But there is something I want. Sadly, it is not something you can buy in a store, put in a box, wrap up in pretty paper and place under a tree if I had a tree that could have boxes wrapped in pretty paper placed under it. My little artsy metal tree sits on my mantel though I suppose you could put prettily wrapped boxes on the raised hearth below the tree so that technically they would be under it, but I have books piled up on the hearth so that’s not possible. Which is good, because like I said, you can’t put what I want in a box.
I want a little more love and understanding in the world. Why is that so hard for so many of us? How is it that we are so firmly entrenched in long held beliefs that we can only describe them with talking points and we fail to open our hearts and minds just the tiniest bit to try to find common ground? And it is even more perplexing when you stop and realize that many, if not most, people describe themselves as religious or spiritual.
I describe myself as a secular humanist with Eastern philosophical leanings. I think we should treat each other with respect, understanding and empathy. We should hold off on judgement until we better understand a situation. Or better yet, we shouldn’t judge at all. Instead, we should try to see the world from another’s point of view. Words are a better way to solve problems than fists or guns.
If we want to see change in the world, then as Gandhi said, we must be the change we want to see. We seem to be hellbent on destroying a beautiful planet and wiping ourselves out of existence simply because too many of us believe there is only one possible way of living and they won’t rest until everyone abides by their views. In fact, there are many ways of living and those ways can be compatible. If we can just open our minds, we can change the world.
And we can start with a little more love and understanding. What a wonderful gift that would be! Not just for me, but for all of us. Let’s do it. Let’s change the world.