I find myself sitting in my office at home, which is warm and spacious and overlooks a series of Southern California Palm Trees. My wife is doing well, my children are growing without a care in the world. The truth is: this year has been really good for our family. We have spent more time together than maybe ever before, had more than enough for our daily needs, and enjoyed each other’s company. What more could one ask for?
Yes, I am well aware that’s a picture of privilege in these days of ours.
As Christmas night approaches, I am both immensely grateful for the year behind us, and acutely aware that reality is not shared by everyone.
But it should be, shouldn’t it?
So the gratitude in my heart is joined by a note of worry for the world, which plays softly like a lingering violin in the background to remind us that we live in delicate times.
We are complex beings living in complex times.
And it is ok to feel happiness even during difficult times.
In fact, we can probably argue that’s it is especially important to feel happiness during difficult times — because the world needs it. And at the end of the day, it will be us who change this world. So let’s start by making sure we are tending to our own happiness and growing our own gratitude. Yes, be aware of others’ suffering. Yes, lend a hand where you can. And, yes, if you can, dial up the happiness. All of it is possible.
So Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! May you find and live in moments of joy this holiday season, holding those you love close in your heart, wherever they may be. And may you make a difference in the world today and in this year to come.