The world around us looks like the real world, but it’s full of illusions and myths – such as Santa Claus or the tooth fairy. For example, the myth that buying things will lead to happier lives.
But, for some, they can only get re-acquainted with the world of our true selves for a couple of weeks, over the holidays. Then it’s back to ‘business as usual’– as if the real, unchanging, world of truth revealed at Christmas (or whatever your faith tradition is) – isn’t. What could be more depressing and foolish.
That other, ideal world, is full of love, joy and compassion – especially prevalent at Christmas: eternal truths never change… never have, never will. And, even in this multi-polarized, material-type world today, there’s more to life than money; unless you have nothing… like displaced refugees.
By comparison, we’re living like royalty; so why not “pay it forward.” For instance, if we see a newcomer struggling to adapt to our culture, why not help them understand? It costs nothing.
Yet, there are people who would join a mob-mentality whereby these unfortunate souls become scapegoats – whose only crime was to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. And, of course, it’s tempting to want to be accepted as part of a group where we’re all alike – except for people unlike us – who we’re free to hate. The spiritual death of non-acceptance.
“And the people bowed and prayed,
To the neon god they made.
And the sign flashed out its warning,
In the words that it was forming.
And the sign said, The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenement halls.”
~ Sounds of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel
Yet, when was the last time any of us sat down with a Syrian refugee or their family – walked a mile in their shoes?
So, we can either give in to the mob’s view or resist it. As literary critic, Northrop Frye, pointed out, “Without that criticism, there is nothing to stop an individual or a society from turning into a mob. When we fight against it, we’re taking the side of genuine and permanent human civilization.” But how?
First, checkout your facts by reading credible sources that follow journalistic standards (like the newspaper, or online feed, you’re now reading.) Find out the similarities, rather than the differences, we have with others… by sharing your vision: at ‘Christmas’ and year-round.
John Donne (“No man’s an island.”) could have easily been talking about Christmas bells when he wrote ‘For whom the Bell Tolls’ in 1623, “…any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for [you].”
If we could “re-imagineer” our everyday world, could we improve it? Wonder no more; we can… our ideal world is still here. Merry Christmas!
Photo is pixabay creative commons
Guest Author Bio
Fred Parry lives in Southern Ontario. He is a lover of people and a collector of stories, music, wisdom, and grandchildren. His newspaper column, Music in Me, can be found in ‘The New Hamburg Independent’ Metroland Media. His book, ‘The Music In Me’ (2013) Friesen Press is Available from Amazon and Indigo / Chapters.
Blog / Website: www.fredparry.ca