Every year, our daughter, Alana, paints a card as her Christmas gift to us, and we share the card with family and friends as our gift to you. Alana and I were on the same page this year when thinking about a theme for our annual holiday card. “Merry and bright” did not seem appropriate this year. 2023 continued to be a difficult year for humanity and the planet. Has there ever been a time when focusing on peace, forgiveness and caring for others has been more important? So, when discussing the card, I was thinking “peace”, and she was thinking “light” as a universal symbol of peace and hope.
Whether one ascribes to a particular religion or faith such as Islam (Eid), Judaism (Hanukkah), Hinduism (Diwali), Buddhism (Bohdi), Christianity (Advent), atheism or other, light is used as a powerful metaphor for enlightenment, light over darkness, good over evil, love over hatred.
We live in a world in which most of us are peace-loving. We also live in a world in which people are so traumatized, their ability to be guided by the light is blocked by “leaders” more concerned about power than peace, more driven by revenge than forgiveness, and more focused on greed than ensuring a just sharing of resources.
Sometimes we think that there is nothing we can do to change the world. But maybe there is. As Gandhi said:
“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.”
(aptly summarized as “be the change you want to see”)
I did a bit of Google search on the “golden rule”. The concept of “do unto others" can be found as a basic tenant of most if not all world religions.
Each of us can make a difference by committing to acts of peace on a daily basis. Whether it is volunteering, donating, learning about other faiths, or simply being kind to strangers or just stepping back from our knee-jerk prejudices and judgements. Be open to learning something new about an idea or value that you hold dear.
Let there be peace on earth.
Let it begin with me.
Peace Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi
Make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and
it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.