Every so often a person needs to have a mind-set check. It is so easy to allow indifference, complacency, or even plain, old crankiness to colour how we see life and the world in which we live.
Humans have been the creators of both terrible and marvelous times and inventions. The wonders of today have come about because of the brilliant minds who over the ages would not accept the ordinary. From the beginnings of creation, to the marvels of the modern age, we have had the potential to make life amazing for all people.
As we move into the season of Advent, we have to make sure the commercialization and secularization of the season do not prevent us from appreciating what is the true religious meaning of the season. As the busyness begins, we may forget to smile and enjoy the season, allowing “bah humbug” to be our response.
We just returned from trip to Disney World to see their Christmas. While there, we were constantly encouraged to have a “ magical day.” Their whole goal is to make you feel good thereby encouraging you to buy into their product. In spite of this emphasis upon products, it struck a cord in my mind of how much better life around us would be if we could wish everyone a “ magical day” and do something to make it happen.
Even here in Amherst, there can be a true magic of the season even if we don’t have their spectacular decorations. And yes, Christmas is a religious festival, but the very essence of it calls people of all faiths to remember to love their neighbour and strive for peace among people. Somehow, they make Christmas work and when you read the comments of atheists and other world faiths, you are reminded that Jesus’ life had a special quality seldom matched anywhere else.
The music of Christmas may, after a while become background noise, but when you listen to the words of the Christmas carols and hear them sung by a 500-voice choir with a 50-piece symphonic orchestra it touches a place in your heart as you remember the story of the first Christmas.
Whether you see the story of the birth of Jesus Christ as mystical, or magical, or mythical, we are challenged to pause and think what it would be like if all the peoples and nations of this world took the positive things about their nations and cultures and put them together to make this a truly caring world. It would be a world far different from the one we now have. Why must humans wage war and conflict instead of peace and harmony?
At this precious time of the year as we recall the Christmas story we realize that we don’t need the commercialism to make it work. By making a special effort to be kind to one another think of “what a wonderful world it could be.” As you begin your Advent journey may God be with you and may you have a truly “magical day.”