Saturday, December 24, 2005

The Simplicity of Christmas

There are people whose vision of life is that there is no meaning and purpose -- but that life merely is a senseless randomness that repeats itself coincidentally, so the best one can do is to look out only for themselves and discourage others from holding out any hope that there can be a larger purpose and meaning by which things do get better -- or can get better. The major sources of such despair these days are not coincidentally found in disproportionate numbers in the media, schools and universities (Pharisees and Scribes) -- the institutions and repositories of contemporary intellectualism and popular culture. Their familiarity on these matters however, has not bred a greater respect and regard but conversely, cynicism and despair which they confuse as “sophistication,” regarding as they do, that the height of folly is holding out hope for the miracle of pleasant surprises.

Christmas to such “learned” people, is particularly to be reviled as the most dangerous of celebrations because in the season of increasing darkness and cold, a turnaround is imminent -- and the days rather than continuing to get shorter, now begin to reverse that trend. And thus it is the celebration of light -- and the miracle of rebirth, of which the most famous is the story of Jesus. Christmas is the beginning of that life that culminates in the dying to the old and rebirth -- onto a higher level of existence and fulfillment.

That is a great symbol and metaphor for what all lives should be -- and can be -- moving onto a higher level, rather than being preoccupied and consumed with the pettiness of one’s present life no matter how exalted one may already be. In this, those with the most, are the most jaded, most likely to awaken Christmas morning disdaining, “Is this all there is?” Meanwhile, those with the least, have an immense gratitude for all that they have and have been given by the universe which made it all possible. To which the former will deride, “What gifts? You have nothing, you contemptible, foolish, idiotic fool! One day you’ll wake up and be like me -- believing in nothing and especially the goodness of others. I owe everything only to myself. There is no Santa Claus!”

But maybe it is, that such individuals really don’t exist -- as much as Santa Claus does, for we see abundantly the gifts of the world from anonymous benefactors, but we don’t see the impressiveness and grandeur of their self-aggrandizing egos. And that is why Christmas is greatest for those who expect and demand the least -- for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven, while those expecting and demanding the most -- from others, will make a Hell on earth for everyone else.

Christmas is an attitude of gratitude -- a basic regard for all others, known and unknown, who have made life what it is.


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