Attaining and maintaining the Spirit of Christmas . . .

Since childhood I have always loved Christmas, in spite of its annual over commercialization. Overshadowing it all for me still remains the tranquility of the original reason for the season, coupled with my earliest childhood memories of it as one of three children of a rural church pastor’s family during one’s most impressionable years.

The Christmas season in my estimation still remains one in which more people are caught up in the same momentum and sing from same musical scores making it the most unifying of all others, regardless of age, race, religion or lack of any.

As a child I always looked forward to visiting my grandparents’ (home place) in Fayetteville, WVA during any season as their rigid daily schedules never varied. Breakfast was always on the dining room table by 6 a.m. so that all working members could be at work by 7:00. After breakfast, dishes were cleared away and the table immediately reset for lunch–which granddaddy always came home for. The resetting of the table again immediately followed, this time for dinner when everyone was expected to be present. The closest constant reminder of such family ritual is found today only in the fictional “Blue Blood” TV series of family cops.

Such regular gatherings around the dinner tables of today in particular are made virtually impossible with the schedule of each invariably taking them in all different directions. Yet unimaginable is the better understanding and mutual respect that result through such consistent communication.

I have heard of some kids who miss breakfast at home (for whatever reason) choose also to do the same at school rather than be identified as “underprivileged.” The peer pressure and insensitivity among school-age children generally intensifies with progression through the grades with junior and high school students often affected most. If only they could reap the bounty of a daily family dining room table around which all or any member could share fears and anxieties as well as other personal feelings. It would be like Christmas everyday without the physical gift-giving that has eclipsed the real “reason for the season.” It would instead be more like receiving daily the love and warmth expressed through seasonal greeting card messages while placing sensitivity toward the needs of others before our own wants.

It’s been over 2000 years since Christ commanded us to“…love thy neighbor as thyself.” In this new Day of God, a new Messenger, Baha’u’llah (the Glory of God),  now commands us to “Love thy neighbor more than thyself and put his welfare before thine own! If you do this, what reason would he have to attack you?”

Compare also the meaning of the word neighbor in that day to today’s meaning through inconceivably modern science and technology that now affects the nations, territories and climates of the earth!

As we approach the end of another Gregorian calendar year, let us pray that this loving Spirit of Christmas will continue for all who truly believe in the brotherhood of man and continue to work toward extending the Spirit of Christmas throughout each day of coming years.