Article written by Peter Chapman.
Published on 25/12/2012 at 06:00 AM.
Christmas is a special time of year. Regardless of how much I complain at the rampant commercialisation of it or the moaning I do about the gaudy decorations some people seem to have been displaying since Halloween, I really do believe that Christmas offers us a wonderful opportunity.
I don’t personally follow any of the religious doctrines throughout human history which have claimed this time of year to be one of their most sacred periods but that doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate what it can mean.
I don’t really think it matters whether or not a person is comfortable with the idea that Jesus Christ was the immaculately conceived son of an omniscient deity, who was born of a virgin, performed supernatural miracles and who’s suffering and eventual death were a cleansing for all of our earthly sins in the two thousand years or so since it happened. I can respect the message – what Jesus stands for – very much. What Jesus taught, repeatedly, was love for our fellow man. Compassion. And that is something that I have the firmest possible belief in.
Compassion is what makes us feel elated when we see success – such as the many great stories that we saw from the Olympic Games and Paralympics in London this year. It makes us want to celebrate success, even though it’s not ours, because we can see how much it means to another person. Compassion is also what makes us feel for the victims of great tragedies like the senseless shootings in Connecticut this month. We can feel a fraction of the pain that those families are going through because we care about how another human being suffers.
Christmas, regardless of its religious associations, is a handy reminder that we should feel that compassion. We should nurture it. It’s what makes us want to be a better person, that we might lessen another’s suffering or promote their chances of success. It might take a while, but that’s something that I think will genuinely make the world a better place.
So, no matter what your religion – or lack thereof, I’d like to thank you for the time you’ve spent with us here at this silly little corner of the internet. You make me want to see a happier, more peaceful world and you make me want to enjoy it with you. Sometimes it takes some rampant commercialism to remind us to say that to each other.
Happy Christmas to you and all you care about.