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The Promise of December

It's December - my favorite part of the year. The holidays invite us to go inside and reflect -- and for me, it's time to leave other people's Jesus behind.

It’s December – that’s my favorite part of the year.

The cold outside ushers us inside for warmth, and near the holidays, the streets take a rest from the busy pace of season shoppers. We slow down from work if we can, smile a little more to our neighbors, and think of our families and loved ones wherever they may be.

Then there are the lights, sparkling and blinking with the promise of joy.

It’s Christmas. 🎄

It’s a moment for pause and reflection. Time to come in from the cold of the outside world that pulls us in different directions. One that tells us that to be good, we need to be better than other people, and that to be happy we need to be beautiful, rich, and/or famous.

None of that, of course, is true.

We know that too — intellectually. But the thoughts still linger within us because they have become unspoken cultural mantras. They come at us surreptitiously and if we are not careful, they become our lives. Like silent thieves, they take the best of us away from us by flight of night, when it is dark and we are not paying attention. And we begin to believe in all of the nonsense that separates us from each other — and even leads to war. We think we are competing with others…

But then there are the Christmas lights…

The lights of the season remind us that things can be different. They speak of man –all love– who competed with no one but who was with everyone. A man who mingled indistinctively with the poor, the ill, the rich, the religious, the ostracized, the skeptic, and those with questionable characters – and treated each according to their needs, not his. A man who challenged the presumptions of the world so deeply and unequivocally that he marked time as before and after him.

A man whose ultimate message was of life immortal – of our survival after the death of our physical body — and of collaboration.

And he lived that certainty so abundantly and so constantly that nothing that fazes us fazed him. He was – and is – a game-changer in the field of human ethics and behavior. Kind, pleasant, peaceful, wise – all while strong.

We call this man Jesus.

But what have we made of his teachings through time?

We have taken his name, likeness, and image to push our own agendas. We’ve made a club of it, saying that only a certain few can be members. We cashed in on it if we could. We pushed people away who think differently than we do and talked down to them. We showed little compassion and tolerance for others — and we felt righteous for it.

In short, we are still really far away from the spirit of his message.

So, December, for me, is that time of the year when I leave the Jesus I learned from others behind – and go in search of my own.

I think of what it would be like to behave and act as Jesus did. How the world would be different today if we were more accepting of each other, less fearful of exposing ourselves, and more certain of our own immortality – and that we have as long as it takes, in the grand scheme of things, to get it right. What an easier world it would be…

That’s the promise of December to me – and the allure of the Christmas lights everywhere. Rebirth. Rebirth of conceptions and attitudes. Personal transformation. Unconditional acceptance regardless.

And I hope December may bring you lights too – whatever lights you are seeking and that bring you joy. I root for you. Your successes take nothing away from my own — on the contrary, they add to my life. So, thank you.

I am grateful for your companionship this year and look forward to the new cycle that will soon begin.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

Dan

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