December 24
Christmas is a necessity.  There has
to be at least one day of the year
to remind us that we're here for
something else besides ourselves.

Eric Sevareid


Today's Meditation:

Most of us go through our lives working as hard as we can to make our lives and the lives of our loved ones better and easier.  We strive to make ends not just meet, but overlap so that we can have something in reserve for possible hard times.  And because of all of the obstacles that come up in family and at work, we tend to get focused on ourselves, on our own lives.  It's only natural, and it's not such a bad thing--we can be pretty annoying if we feel the need to meddle in other people's lives.

But Christmas acts as a reminder that there is more than us on this planet.  The holiday of giving and sharing helps us to refocus on a bigger picture, one that includes our fellow human beings, about whom we tend not to think of too much normally, unless issues in their lives start to affect our lives.  Christmas reminds us that we are a part of many communities, and that our lives are inextricably intertwined with the lives of many, many other people.

We are here for something more besides ourselves.  In Christmas we're reminded of the person of Jesus, who devoted his life to teaching others about their own power and their own glory, and about their relationships with God and with other people.  He said that the two most important commandments were to love God and to love others--and both of those commandments obviously direct us to direct our love outside of ourselves, to direct it to others to whom we normally would not direct it.

Christmas in its true form reminds us to do just that.  It reminds us to consider other people's wants and needs, and it reminds us that giving is one of the most important things that we can do while we're alive.  On this day before Christmas, it might be nice to simply think about the other people in our lives--and why our lives are richer for their presence.  And when we consider that, we can remember that Christmas is a perfect time for us to do so, and that others are thinking about us in the same way.

Questions to consider:

Why might we need to be reminded now and then that we are a part of larger communities, and that life isn't all about ourselves? 

Think of five different communities or groups to which you belong.  How do those groups enrich your life?   How do you enrich those groups? 

What would our lives be like without a Christmas in them?

For further thought:

Instead of being a time of unusual behavior, Christmas is
perhaps the only time in the year when people can obey
their natural impulses and express their true sentiments
without feeling self-conscious and, perhaps, foolish.
Christmas, in short, is about the only
chance people have to be themselves.

Francis C. Farley


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