Christmas and Hanukkah occur at the same time this year, so Christians, Jews, and non-believers alike have a chance to join hands in focusing on light, hope, and the essential human dynamic of giving and receiving.
I wrote earlier in the week about Trump nation sharing the trait of living in rage and fear. I read another article about the people of Hendersonville, North Carolina, who are up in arms about Muslims and sharia law — even though there are very few Muslims where they live and no sign of sharia law anywhere on the horizon. The fear is about an idea, an abstraction, not about real families who get up in the morning and send their kids to school and go off to work just like everyone else. Afraid of head scarves, are we? Remember Catholic nuns in habits, black fabric covering their heads and often obscuring their faces? We didn’t attempt to ban their sign of religious belief, did we, even those of us who aren’t Catholic?
Choosing to live in rage and fear seems to me akin to mentally self-transporting to Aleppo, or some other shattered and destroyed city in a turbulent place in the world. Why would anyone intentionally do that?
Look around. Find one thing that gives you hope. I guarantee it’s there, even amidst hardship and disappointment. Dump the opioids. Cork the bottle. Go outside yourself and find one hopeful thing.
Whether or not you believe in the spirit of Christmas, or take time to light the Hanukkah candles, we need to believe in each other.
Let a new season of light and hope begin.