For people of all faiths, who either believe or don’t believe to whatever degree, I wish Happy Holidays. Celebrating the spirit of giving is not confined to a religious act, nor would I suppose it is confined to being a human act. I would also point out that it is not something that should occur at only one time in the year.
I wish any and all a moment of being able to look past their own suffering, beyond the various religious rituals, political processes, and even retail marketing madness that have been built up around this season – just a moment of looking beyond these things and seeing the deeper greatness we are all capable of. A moment of seeing this potential within ourselves and within each other, before looking again at all the suffering, the religious tug-o-wars over which brand has the ‘real’ bragging rights for the season, the political posturing, and the undue expectations that an out of control marketing culture is all-too-happy to let us think we are not living up to, until we have emptied our wallets and bank accounts.
A moment is all it takes to put things into a proper perspective – it is this kind of moment that I wish for us all. Such moments lead to a lasting happiness, a spirit of giving that outlasts the various retail orgies and flourishes in even the most adverse conditions. For those fortunate enough to have already experienced such a moment, an encouragement to share with others is hardly necessary :-)
When I was younger, I was told by my father’s mother that Santa Claus did not exist. This was during the summer, between the third and fourth grade. I remember the day clearly, because she laughed at me for still believing in Santa – she actually laughed at me and told me what a fool I was. I remember the look on my mother’s face – spanning within a matter of seconds the range from shock, to outrage, to sadness and regret, as she was inclined to let me believe in Santa Claus until I was ready to stop believing on my own. I spent some time trying to resolve the resulting conflict and it was through this process that I experienced the kind of moment that I wish for everyone to have: I understood Santa Claus to be a symbol, a symbol for the spirit of giving, and the pure joy to be found in possessing this spirit. In that moment, I saw past everything to a deeper truth … and I say without shame or embarrassment that to this day, I still believe in Santa Claus ;-)