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Season to celebrate amid the negative

Season to celebrate amid the negative Season to celebrate amid the negative

It seems to me that I have been seeing signs of the holiday season much earlier this year. Almost before the Halloween candy was sold, turkeys, Christmas tree lights and holiday gifts were on display in stores. I don’t think it is just that people are more organized than most years. There is something else going on here.
Perhaps we are all weary of the grim realities of life that swirl around us every day: storms, gun violence, political discord and economic uncertainty. It seems all too often we expect the worse to happen and it somehow does. As Scrooge of ‘A Christmas Carol’ would say, ‘Bah humbug’ is the mood of the day. Maybe in this sad climate we ought to forget the joyous nature of the holiday season.
Just the opposite I speculate. A popular Christmas carol has a line that says, ‘We need a little Christmas right this very minute; candles in the windows, carols on the spinet.’ Well, I would suggest that we need a whole heap of holiday spirit and we need it to go on well into 2019.
Like you, I watch the news daily and am bathed in problems from all around the globe and, yes, even into space. Problems that we need to not only sit up and taken notice of, but also go out and do something about. In order to get the energy and inspiration to get up and take care of unpleasant stuff, I need to pick up the positive vibes that surround us. Happy stories on the evening news don’t often get much attention. It is fires and train wreck sort of happenings that cause us to take notice. What is wrong with our species that we like to dwell on the dark side of life?
Maybe we need a general refocus in our brains and hearts. Instead of just ignoring bad stuff, let us focus on overpowering the negative with positive attitudes and actions. It is easy to be a gloomy actor, but it takes hard work and positive thinking to move forward with gusto during hard times.
All religions promote gratitude for life, care for one another, generosity and an awareness of a power greater than ourselves that is by nature good. Isn’t religion man’s attempt to find meaning in life and join with a Supreme Being to make things better? Isn’t lifting up the good in life a bona fide righteous thing for we as people and nations to do?
The holidays give us a time to stop our gloomy mood and look to the joy and hope in life. We all have different opinions as to what is appropriate thought and action for expressing the meaning of the holiday season. Whether your practice is candy, gifts and Santa Claus or a time of sharing and giving, or strictly a spiritual renewal, I surmise you are trying to express happy, hopeful, meaningful observances.
Some see dancing and music as a high form of observing joy, thankfulness and praise. Others feel a candlelight church service is the best expression of these same attitudes. We all have a human need to feel and show we are connected to something beyond human understanding, and we do that by stepping outside our everyday practices.
Enter the holidays! We want to realize that a smiling child is more wonderful than a tax evader. We want to focus on helping poor people rather than fearing them. We find hope in cures for illness instead of dreading our aches and pains. We need to celebrate our peaceful events more than curse the terrorists’ occurrences.
Our generosity to programs that meet urgent needs around the world is one such positive step. Volunteering at events that help pull the community together are great opportunities to feel the joy of making life better. Attending celebratory performances, worship services and holiday parties are responses to the joy of being alive. Enabling others to experience the wonder of the holiday season is an awesome endeavor.
At this time of year, we often use candles to signify the bringing of light into unknown or dark places. Such light makes us aware of the wonderfulness of life, societies, programs, opportunities, scientific and technological advancements and the human mind and heart.
It is no coincidence that most civilizations have observed a winter event with celebration. These times confirm our belief in new birth in the midst of the dormancy of winter. We Christians observe the birth of our Savior with the advent of Christmas. So, if this is your choice, try the following things to bring your faith to life.
‘ Decorate your home with something that makes you feel the sense of the religious observance in accord with the changing seasons created by God.
‘ Go out of your way to help someone you don’t know.
‘ Take time to be still and speak in prayer to God.
‘ Join with your friends and/or your family to rejoice that you are on this journey through life together.
‘ Go out on a crisp night, stand under the stars and marvel at the wonder of life in this universe.
This should shine light and love into your hours at the holiday season.