Generally speaking at some point during the holiday season I stop to think and write about those people for whom this time of year is really difficult. I do so out of compassion and concern and to draw attention to the fact that not everyone finds this a particularly joyful season. I have mentioned before my own struggles with the Christmas seasons in the first few years following my wife’s death, because it has struck home for me in a deeply personal way I am on the lookout for people who seem to feel a little out of sorts. Sometimes I even contact people who I know have lost a love recently and I will be in touch if I believe they are or will experience difficulty.
The joy of the season, the peace, the love, the hope; does not happen naturally. These things happen because people take time to share and be present with others. The greatest gift of the season is not remembering a birth two thousand years ago it is remembering your neighbor today. The greatest gift is not the baby Jesus and is especially not Jesus’ death but it is that Jesus taught us to love in a very special way.
I imagine the “Kingdom of Heaven” of which Jesus spoke to be a sort of ‘utopian’ society meant to be on earth. A community of people loving and caring for each other compassionately, for the joy of loving and caring for someone and not because of some feared consequence. We all know and feel the difference between a person who carries out a gesture of kindness because they have to and because they want to. We want to be with people who want to be with us. Striving to be that community of faithful, that ‘kingdom of heaven’ that Jesus referred to is our calling now. It is the movement towards that kind of a world to which we are all called. Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhist and many others all work to find the life of perfect love. For those of us who call Christianity our faith it is the celebration of Christmas that remembers the humble beginnings of the one who would reveal the path to the sacred to us.
During this season of Christmas seek the truth of understanding found in the message that Jesus taught and celebrate the light of the world that brings joy and peace to people’s hearts. Give a gift of caring and remember the compassion with which Jesus himself offered the words to his followers, “I am preparing the way for you.”
Give the gift of Hope by preparing the way for another.