For most of my adult life, I have watched “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” every December. Strangely enough, I do not know the words to any of the songs. You would think, after allllllllllllllll these years, I would know more than “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch….” Yup, that’s all I can remember. But, I just love that show. The idea that Christmas is not about presents and food, but “something more”. And what makes it really funny is that I’m not Christian. Long story, not going there. I’m a Nichiren Buddhist. But I have many Christians in my family, and they get my love and respect. So, what is it about Christmas? If Thanksgiving is when I give thanks for all the people who have been a part of my life, what is Christmas for me? I think it’s one day, a suspension in time, in which we try to put aside our negativity and enmity toward others (especially family) and come together in a positive spirit of love: for family, for mankind. Peace on Earth. Joy to the World. And maybe a bit of pretending. That things are “okay”. Christmas magic. Just for one day. Oh, and presents for the kids.
If you’re about to have a good Christmas, I want you to know, really know, how lucky you are. I would bet that if you’re planning to have a wonderful Christmas with your family, there is someone coming who is putting on a good face, so that it can be a happy holiday. One day. Peace on Earth.
If you are a praying person, please pray for those you love to feel loved. And perhaps, pray that you can suspend enmity if necessary. Pray that there is more positivity than negativity. If you can open your heart a bit more, pray that as many people as possible on this earth can have a good day, whatever that may mean for them. Pray that as many people as possible who need love get love. And that they get enough love to choose to do positive things instead of negative things. So that perhaps we will have fewer deaths for one day.
Now, if you can do that, if you can hope that for one day, we can have Peace on Earth, think beyond that day, and consider what you might do the day afterwards. What can be done to keep it going. What can we do to touch the lives of as many people as possible with love and caring. Compassion and respect.
Many people have the day off for Christmas, and after that, we go back to… well, whatever we had suspended the day before. But the New Year is around the corner, and you get one week to think about how that year can be. How it can be for you. How it can be for the ones you love. And if your heart can be bigger, how it can be for the world.
Kwanzaa is good for that, and I have come to understand how powerful it can be. To reflect. To consider. To open up. To make plans for the future. So, let Christmas be a stake in the ground. A day of believing in miracles, and then a call to go forth and be a miracle in the lives of others. Consider celebrating Kwanzaa. Build a bridge between two holidays that adds meaning, and renewal for the coming year.
Blessed Bodhi Day
Happy Solstice and Merry Yuletide
Happy and Blessed Mawlid el-Nabi