As yet another Christmas approaches I am compelled to reflect on the real meaning of the biggest festival in the Western (if not the entire) world. I have been thinking about writing this post for a while , in fact since I was on holiday in Tenerife last Summer.
It seems such a long time ago and yet it was just a few months ago that we were on the island for a week and spent a day at a large water park there. I had been before but not in high season and throughout the day I could not help noticing the vast amount of people and the many different shapes and colours human beings come in: an amazing variety of hair styles , body shapes , skin colours , belly buttons and wobbly bits ... our diversity becomes even more evident when you strip down to your swimming trunks or bikini, don't you think? With no designer clothes or layers to hide behind ... we were all pretty much stripped of anything that would normally separate us from "the others", even those with "fast track passes" looked vulnerable skipping all the way to the front of the queue.
Plenty of body art to keep me entertained during the long queues under the sun however my mind started to wander elsewhere ... as I looked around one thought kept coming back over and over again... everyone was at the park to have a good time with someone they cared about. Parents and their young kids, couples , groups of friends , entire families including at least three generations. It was fascinating to watch how all these little groups were there with each other, for each other ...
Russian, Spanish , English , Italian were only a few of the languages I recognised but take away the audio and we are left with one simple truth: we all care for someone , no matter how different we may look or what language we happen to have learnt where we were born, we all share that unique trait that makes us human :the love and the desire to be together in a group.
Shortly after our holiday we came back to England and the usual doom and gloom on the news made me ponder a little more about human nature : are we really by nature full of hate and destined to destroy each other as Thomas Hobbes the great political philosopher and others have thought in the past or is there more to us than the apparent inability to live in peace?
Indeed we are capable of ordinary and extraordinary acts of self-less love. Indeed we are creatures of love no matter where we come from. How else would you explain the existence in all cultures of the idea of living in a community that fosters happiness and peace instead of war and destruction. Monasteries of all faiths, Kibutz, Ashrams even allotments are simple but real examples that no matter where we come from we all have within us the concept of a better life , a better community where we help and support each other and achieve peaceful goals and prosperity for everyone.
In this season of getting together with loved ones , I like to spend some time thinking about all the families in South America, Japan , China , Russia who perhaps at a slightly different time of year celebrate the gift of life and love in their own way and know it within my heart that what unites us is much bigger than what divide us , we just need a little reminder from time to time...
I honour the light in you and it is the same light that is in me and together we are
Love and Light