Christmas is a time for wishes

December 23, 2012

The traditional wish for Christmas peace is all the more poig-nant in this, what has been a most divisive and unsettling year.

We have survived another campaign year — not gracefully perhaps, but we survived nonetheless. Just this month, we have witnessed one of the more unthinkable tragedies in the nation’s history. And locally, we are once again wrestling with the same old issues that have plagued Hagerstown for decades, even ones that we thought we had just recently, finally, put to rest.

Yet here we are again at Christmas, which has this habit of coming around with regularity even as we are convinced that the world around us is going up in smoke. Christmas, and its celebratory cousins of other faiths, is that spiritual anchor that grounds us and calms us. It is Christmas that reminds us of the big picture and that all of our emotional and political traumas are not quite as important as they might seem.

We are told the nation is polarized, but there is an important qualification to be made. We are polarized on certain issues; we are not polarized as a people.

This Christmas season, we prefer to dwell on the latter.

We take heart in knowing that two people from the opposite regions of the political spectrum can swap stories and laugh and offer care if the other is hurting. We know that race doesn’t matter when two people of different ancestries exchange a smile over the convenience store coffee urn.

Hunters and animal rights advocates sit comfortably together at church.

We should always keep in mind that there is much, much more that binds us together, as Americans and as human beings, than there is that drives us apart.

We share the common experiences of living together on this planet. In this daily churn of hopes, dreams, fears, love, disappointment and success, we are all on the same team. We all want basically the same things out of life, which can be summed up in Jefferson’s “pursuit of happiness.”

An old saw equates hatred with drinking poison and hoping the other person will die. When we spend excessive time worrying about other people we become less grounded in our own lives.

Christmas is the annual chance to restore that lost connection. Christmas allows us to focus on what is important. Christmas reminds us that if we take care of our own house and treat others not with criticism but kindness, everything else will fall into place.

This season, we wish everyone happiness, along with the ability and determination to allow others to be happy as well. This is a wish that should come easily, if we let it. Because it is the nature that is born within us all.

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