Mirror To The Universe
—Happy Birthday, Jesus!
By Rob Mohr
“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”—Bertrand Russell
When you read this article we will already know the outcome of the U.S. election. Will Trump still be with us or will compassion and hope have gained a new foothold in our world? If each of us had considered the words and actions of Jesus of Nazareth, how might we have voted in November?
In this new world, saying “Christmas,” the day when mass was said for Christ, has become taboo. Set on winter’s solstice marking the autumn harvest and the beginning of a new year, Christmas replaced several ancient festivals. But for us, what will December bring? Will it be limited to red decorations and sporadic gifts, or might Christmas become a time of renewal?
Bertrand Russell’s understanding of human nature led him to conclude that all humans were driven by four primary desires: “Acquisitiveness (the wish to possess as much as possible), Rivalry (between individuals and communities), Vanity (a potent motive), and Love of Power (which outweighs the first three).”
Consider the implications if he was right. Yet, when we look around, humans, and communities of humans, are fulfilling these exact desires. Is there an alternative? In my mind Christmas is just that, an alternative set of values expressed by a young visionary two thousand and some odd years ago. Not the dogma of organized Christianity, but a new set of desires whose core is harmony with one another and creation. Compassion, and care, for others and creation opens the door for a less discordant understanding of what it means to be human.
Yet, if we consider today’s reality, who will reach out to the poor? Who will speak and act out of love, bind their wounds, or proclaim freedom for all of humanity? In place of division, who among us will seek harmonious community, one which ensures healthcare for all people, equality among races and genders, and adequate housing and income and education? Who will wipe away tears in the midst of a global pandemic, give birth to the winds of change, or accept the understandings and values expressed by Jesus of Nazareth?
When I was a child, my grandmother, Elizabeth Anne MacQueen, with whom I lived for three summers on her farm, read the bible at six each morning. When she finished, we would walk about a hundred yards to her large garden where we would cultivate and gather food for lunch that day. She taught me the discipline of care. Her world-view was progressive and wide. She recognized the emptiness in the “four desires” named by Russell. If she were alive today, she would say without hesitation, “Woe to this obstinate nation, to a people who know not truth.” But her tone would be one of love.
She would focus on a time, when “the eyes of those who see would no longer be closed.” When good men and women would ensure justice for all. One where life would take place sheltered from the storm of division, hate, and violence.
Today, I, too, envision a time when we wake up and our day’s fruit will be love and compassion, served with a progressive openness that will create equal room for all people, black, brown or white, male or female. A place and time when equality and justice will embrace us all, and all people will enjoy a “peace that passes all understanding.”
Many of us—in this time of unchecked rivalry, when blind adherence to stale doctrine and a “me first” philosophy governs our lives—have lost sight of what Christmas is all about. Perhaps loving one another and giving useful gifts is not a bad idea, especially if we share our lives in significant ways.
So, as you reflect, what kind of Christmas will you create this December?
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com