At some point in time people chose a moment in the year to remember and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. This became the most known celebration based on a Christian tradition. By now widely spread over the world and turned into a festive moment, regardless you consider yourself Christian or not.
Some are still consciously celebrating it for its original intention, for others it’s mainly a moment to take a break at the end of the year and get together with family. Often with special dinners, presents and dressing up for the occasion.
Though I’m born and raised in the Christian culture, and lots of that still means a lot to me, I’ve lost most of my enthusiasm around the whole thing. Yes, thing.
Once it was a warm and loving experience for me. The only present I got, was a book and some candy at Sunday school. I was looking forward to it for weeks and loved it for weeks after.
The biggest gift was the family dinner where the six of us were really happy with food which was only slightly different, slightly more luxurious from a regular Sunday dinner. It was special because we decided it was special. Even whilst writing these words, happy tears come to my eyes. I can still feel the special vibe…
Mom and dad, thank you; you clearly did something special there…
I’ve lost that vibe and even started to dislike this time of the year. The main thing I see is over the top commercial event it became. Where the rich 10% is overloading themselves with more of what we actually don’t really need. Presents get unpacked, yet the gift stays often unused or very quickly forgotten about. At the same time ignoring those who don’t even have a roof over their head or food on the table. Let’s forget presents…
If that’s what became of a Christian tradition, I don’t want to be a Christian…
Ok, I’ll stop being the embodiment of both Statler and Waldorf at the same time, these grumpy old men from the Muppet show!
Today I was listening again to one of my favourite books, ‘The book of Joy’ by bishop Desmond Tutu and his holiness the Dalai Lama. These representatives of two of the world’s major religions inspire me so much! They breath wisdom and peace. They teach love and preach forgiveness and gratitude. Through their whole life, they’ve walked the talk.
Looking at them, yes, I do want to be a Christian! And a Buddhist!
Witnessing my Muslim friends, I’m in awe with how they practice generosity and hospitality. How they open their house and heart for whomever they meet on their path. Because, that’s who they see as their brothers and sisters. Seeing that, yes, I do want to be a Muslim!
I have some very dear Jewish friends. Witnessing their rich traditions and how they choose to create peace and harmony, I can only have the deepest respect for them! Looking at that, yes, I do want to be a Jew!
Some of my friends don’t worship any God at all. Witnessing how they serve humanity and do whatever they can to make this world a bit of a better place, fills me with respect and hope. Looking at that, yes, I do want to be a humanist!
Oh yes, like Statler & Waldorf, we can choose to focus on where all these groups screw up. That’s easy and, like for me it did with Christmas, it can take away all its beauty. If that’s where we choose to look, guaranteed that’s what we’ll see!
For this Christmas I’m going to give myself a gift. I’m going to look at how I can be a Christian. A Jew. A Muslim. A Buddhist. As well as a humanist.
From there how I can bring light to the world.
How I can see the light in you, how I can love you.
And if you want to give me a gift this Christmas, show your light and, when I forget, just remind me to let mine shine. Brightly.
©Alex Verlek 2019