Though I'm not what one would call a religious person, I can feel the spirituality of the holiday season. I remember marching down the aisle, singing carols, carrying a lit candle and dressed as an angel, when I was a little girl. The church I attended while I was growing up was small but did Christmas up, really big. I can still feel that wonderful, fluttery, awed feeling that I experienced among the candles and white poinsettias. I learned to associate Christmas, not just with gifts, but with miracles, love, family, peace, and the beauty of lights on a dark, winter night. I am still a sucker for the beautiful music created for this season, from "The Little Drummer Boy" to Vivaldi's "Gloria."
In high school, one of my close friends was the daughter of our local Rabbi. I experienced Hanukkah through her family and received an education in the differences that make us all the same. I also came to appreciate the efforts that go into a really fine, Jewish holiday meal. Bubbe Goldberg could COOK!
I went next door, last year, to admire the Kwanzaa decorations and African garb and foods that my neighbors had put together. The candles were of special interest since Jean (with the French pronunciation....he's Haitian) had made them, himself. Gina's peanut and yam soup was to die for.
We have neighbors from India who are Hindu, Islamic friends just a block over, and an Asian family who practices Buddhism, all in this tiny subdivision. My Hispanic neighbors have a beautiful lighted creche on their lawn and play their guitars and sing a lot at this time of year.
I wonder why it is that so many different nationalities can co-exist, even enjoy each other, in a town or a neighborhood, but cannot get along on so many other levels. Our soon-to-be former president seems to think that we should force democracy on all other nations. Right here, in the US, there are religious factions that would insert their doctrine into our laws. We have everything from the Klan and Skinhead Nazis to rigid fundamentalists who see their beliefs as the only right beliefs to people who insist that everyone walk in lock-step with their take on different issues in organizations. We experience bigotry, the selfish interests of those who would impress their views on others and outright hate from some.
I wonder how it would feel to have true Peace on Earth? I'm not talking about just the absence of war, but the freedom from hate, resentment, egotism, and the insecurities that breed such things. Who would it hurt for all of us to learn to live and let live...to allow each person the expression of their own beliefs and priorities and to wish each other well and mean it? Why must one person's or one group's stance be right all the time for everyone? What makes people become so threatened by different thoughts, ideas, faiths, ethnicities and cultures?
We have taken a giant step as a nation, by electing a man of mixed race to the highest office in the land. On a smaller scale, we mothers of adoption loss, both of recent times and of the EMS/BSE, have shown the courage of stating our identities and our goals in a public forum. Within this community of mothers, we have many mothers with many different priorities. Why can't each of us work on our own issues without rancor? Why can't we grow up enough to stop the petty bickering and realize that one size does NOT fit all? Nothing anyone can say or do can change the direction of our particular group, so why try? Who has an ego so large and a heart and self-esteem so small that they cannot allow everyone to follow their hearts and minds in peace?
Oh well, I will enjoy my dream of peace on earth on both a large and a smaller scale. It can't hurt to have a little hope for the Holidays. Maybe, even a miracle..........
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and a Joyful Kwanzaa to all.