Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

I wrote this blog post a year ago before Christmas. I hope as the holiday season is upon us, along with all the fun and important time with family and friends, we also take the time to think about others with empathy. We all don’t have the same circumstances or advantages or disadvantages or backgrounds or means and that what may be good for you or I may not be good for your fellow men, women, and children. So with Christmas upon us once again, in addition to the normal festivities, I call for us all as best as we can to think beyond just ourselves or even beyond our own family and friends to a wider perspective. We really are ‘stronger together’ and the more we strive to make all lives better, the better off we all will be. I am reposting this blog article as just a reminder that there is more we have in common that not. Merry Christmas everyone!

https://gesvol.wordpress.com/2015/12/13/no-matter-who-you-are/

different

No matter who you are or where you come from, or what you look like or what religion you practice, you are equal in the eyes of God….”  President Obama said this during his prime time speech regarding ISIS.  A church I attend semi-regularly goes further, “No matter…no matter what your standing is in the community, or where you live, no matter your age, no matter your gender or race, no matter who you are, where you come from or where you’re going, no matter what you believe or doubt, no matter who you love, God loves you, and you are welcome here.”

With the horrible acts and hateful rhetoric as of late, I think it is time we try to put things back into perspective.  While we have all kinds of different experiences and circumstances, the bottom line is we are all people.  Men, women, and children.  And it’s in all of our best interests to keep in mind that we all play on “team humankind” at the end of the day.

I think sometimes we forget when we throw labels around, like “refugees” or “Muslim” or “gays” or “liberals” or “conservatives” or even sometimes still “blacks” or the “poor”, we are talking about actual people.  Now if we focus on just our differences and decide some groups don’t “belong”, we need to keep some stats in mind.  Religiously, 20% of 6.9 billion people worldwide claim no religion, and of the 80% remaining, about 30% are Christian, 23% are Muslim, 15% are Hindu, with the other 32% or so belonging to all sorts of other religions (ignoring that within “Christian”, “Muslim”, etc. there are all sorts of subgroups).  Race?  Around 25% East Asian, 21% South Asian, 16% “white”, 15% “black”, 8% “Middle Eastern”, 9% Southeast Asian, and 8% Central/South American.  The number of homosexuals, while unknown, likely number in the hundreds of millions worldwide.  The male/female breakdown is close to 50/50.  Over 3 billion people worldwide live on less than $2.50 per day.  At least in this country, 38% self identify as conservative, 34% as moderate, and 24% as liberal.

All of this is to say, no matter how you divvy up a world of 6.9 billion people, if we focus on our differences, and allow our biases, our prejudices, our fears, and our hatred be our guide, we will always be divided and there will be no winners.  We all lose.

However, people have key similarities.  We all smile when we are joyful.  We all enjoy music.  We all have fears.  We all are playful.  We all have the same basic necessities for survival:  food, water, shelter, warmth, security.  We all have the same desire to be treated with dignity and respect.  We all have feelings.  We all have family.  To paraphrase the Dalia Lama, we all just want happiness and on that fundamental level, we are the same.

Christmas is just around the corner and a phrase you will see and hear a lot this time of year is “Peace on Earth and good will toward men.”  As we all continue to deal with issues and policies and all the messiness of the world, I think we would do well to keep this phrase in mind and that on a fundamental level, we are the same, as we consider the words we speak and the actions we suggest and/or take.

whoville christmas

In our society, there are grinches (and I know I am being unbelievably kind by simply calling them grinches) like the a-hole in Oregon and the other a-hole in Connecticut.  However, these people do not define who we are.  And while politics, religion, etc. help shape who we are as individuals, I don’t believe we as people are defined by that either.  By and large, we are defined by kindness and compassion and good.  The grinches? They are the outliers.

So I ask that while we ask questions, we try not to glorify the grinches.  After all, it literally takes no skill to shoot up a mall or a class of first graders for christ sakes, just a very black heart and a broken mind.  Instead, let us mourn but also celebrate the lives that were lost, all way too early.  Let us celebrate the heroes of these tragedies, some who sacrificed everything to save others.  Let us celebrate our loves ones.  Our moms and our dads, our grandmas and our granddads, our brothers and our sisters, our aunts and our uncles, our precious sons and daughters and nieces and nephews, our friends, etc.

Goodness knows we are not perfect.  But I firmly believe that we are far better than what we might be led to believe if we don’t step back from the news every once in a while and put things into perspective.  What better time to do that than on Christmas?  Merry Christmas everyone!

You about ready to do some kissing?

Wondering what to get for that person that already has everything they want (at least, everything that is within your price range)?  Annoyed that you have to get a gift for your boss, the boss that makes much more money than you do?  Frustrated that you are stuck in a store playing Nostradamus trying to figure what you can buy that the person you are giving the gift to will at least not hate so much that they take it back to the store?  And better yet, stuck in a store with hundreds of other people trying to figure out that exact same thing?  Could there be a better way?  No, kidnapping your loved one’s boss and putting a bow on him/her is not a better way! (Though it may be very appreciated!)

How about making a donation to charity on the behalf of this someone you care for (or in the case of the boss, someone you are forced into buying a gift for)?  The saying goes that it is better to give than to receive.  But the last time I checked, a gift can’t be given without someone receiving a gift.  Why not make sure that beneficiary is someone who truly needs it, while still showing that special someone (or boss) that you care?  I am sure that person would really appreciate it (I dare that boss to say that giving to charity is a bad gift!).

Fortunately, there are many charities that make this sort of gift easy.  Here are just a few:

  • Toys For Tots
  • The Make-a-Wish Foundation
  • My Two Front Teeth – really cool concept, you literally pick a specific underprivileged child to sponsor and buy them a specific Christmas gift off of their wish list (and you can do it on the behalf of someone else)
  • Heifer International – you pick an item to give to a hungry family, such as a flock of chicks or goats, with the idea that the family can learn to raise the livestock for both food and income and eventually pass off the offspring and training to others in need.
  • UNICEF

Of course there are many others, probably including the favorite charity of yours or the person you are sending the gift to.  Wouldn’t it be nice to celebrate Christmas in such a way that is truer to what the spirit of Christmas is supposed to be and not the huge commercialized marketing event that it has become?

This idea is not original, especially in the sense that I’m the first one to have come up with it.  Truth be told, it never even occurred to me until my friend Lael mentioned it during a discussion a we were having a year or two ago about Christmas gifts  and how sometimes those go wrong.  But I am not above stealing a good idea from others, and this is a good idea.  For such a good idea, I don’t think it is being done often enough.

If you have already done your Christmas shopping this season, no worries!  There will be other Christmases, other occasions, other opportunities.   And there will probably (unfortunately) always be people in need.  But if we would do more things like this, maybe we can start making more of a dent!

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  • Put a few decorations along a stretch of road.  Charge $10 per car, $25 per van, and $50 per motorcoach.  Watch the money roll in.

Only 12 days of Christmas? Every day is Christmas raking in this kind of dough!

  • Branson is popular with old people.  Veterans tend to be old people.  Therefore Veterans Day is popular in Branson.  The transitive property at work!

I've never seen so many white-haired people at a non-nursing home location in my life!

  • 4 million Christmas lights at a theme park is really neat.

An Old Time Christmas at Silver Dollar City

An Old Time Christmas at Silver Dollar City

An Old Time Christmas at Silver Dollar City

  • A performing Christmas tree, also cool.
  • And Silver Dollar City’s production of Dicken’s Christmas Carol is awesome!

They didn't allow pictures to be taken, so you are going to have to settle for Scrooge McDuck!

  • Cajun Christmas music?  Not so much.

The Cajun Connection. Turns out I don't like my Christmas music "spicy".

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Christmas Time

Posted: December 22, 2009 in Miscellaneous
Tags: , ,

Ah, Christmas.  A joyful, wonderful time of cheer and goodwill toward…..ah, who am I kidding?  I am no better of a writer now than I was a month ago.  So instead of an inspirational blog entry about the wonders of Christmas, you get this:

You all are probably sensing a theme.  World’s (Not So) Funniest Blog, bringing you the best in scatological holiday humor!  Merry Christmas everyone!!!

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