Rather than risk alienating or offending one group or another, or individuals who hold certain beliefs, we generally avoid making statements about spirituality or religion in a space such as this.
But at this time of year, it’s hard not to reflect upon why we take a little more time to celebrate this season. It’s true, Muslims and Jews, for example, are not likely to wish someone a merry Christmas on or around Dec. 25. Even Jehovah’s Witnesses, although Christian, do not make a point of celebrating the day, as within their faith they do not celebrate religious holidays.
No matter what one believes or the traditions they happen to keep, the somewhat slower pace of the coming handful of days will offer all of us an opportunity to re-evaluate how we exist together with our families, our communities, our cities and our country. It’s a chance to gauge our humanity and how we treat each other.
There’s something about Christmas and this time of year that promotes peace on earth and good will to all humans.
We are reminded of the First World War battlefield truce of 1914 that saw groups of Allied troops and their German counterparts, in many places along the Western front, agree to set aside their guns and their brutal adversarial roles on or around Christmas Day. Many engaged in conversation, some shared a cup of cheer and others kicked a soccer ball around for a short while.
It’s hard to reconcile that scene with the recent terrible tragedy in Berlin, where people attending a Christmas market were mowed down by a truck-driving terrorist. That individual had no respect for the humanity of others, let alone his own.
But if we may ask for anything this holiday season generally and at Christmas specifically, it would be that we all take a moment, an hour, a day or more, to think about the humanity we share with others, regardless of their race, religion, economic standing, sexual preference or even their habits, positive or negative.
Our wish is that everyone gains a sense of peace, even if only for a short time, and feels that original sense of Christmas spirit within.