Thoughts concerning Christmas
Published: Thursday, December 23rd, 2004
On Christmas Day, like no other on the calendar, compassion and generosity resonate. Children are the center of our universe. Our bonds are celebrated. Hope lives. It is Christmas. This is the day the birth of Jesus is observed in Christian communities from Tucumcari to Portales and across the world. As told in the gospel according to Luke, an angel of the Lord appeared to shepherds in fields nearby and said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you." It also is the culmination of a holiday season that touches hearts and minds in a way that cuts across religious lines, more so than any other holiday we celebrate in America. It has for generation upon generation come to represent a special time of giving, of caring not only for ourselves and our own families but also others in need. In Eastern New Mexico, that spirit is evident through numerous non-profit programs that assist hundreds of the less fortunate. This week, we learned of the Prison Fellowship Ministries, which allows children of incarcerated prisoners to receive gifts at Christmastime. Officials said 40 people bought gifts for the program in Tucumcari this year. Helping those children is but one example of the goodness of Christmas. Out of Judeo-Christian teachings have sprung two guiding statements of moral principle — the Ten Commandments and Golden Rule — which, if followed in a genuine way every day, would lay the foundation for a better world than we inhabit today. Adhering to them promotes peace and goodwill. They would lead us to live lives more full than if we choose to believe there are no eternal moral principles that govern our lives and our relationships with others. Unfortunately, too often — for reasons each of us must come to terms with on our own — these guiding moral principles are forgotten in the stress, the crush of day-to-day living. And so, we lament the coarsening of our society — the violence, the hypocrisy and vulgarities in our public life, the loss of a sense of virtue to aspire to, the seeming rootlessness and lack of purpose in the lives of too many youth, the devaluing of life itself. We can do better. It is a matter in part of accepting a sense of responsibility, taking a first step, in our own way, to make a change for the better. There is much each of us has to give, on our own or in concert with others who share our sense of purpose. This is so, whether or not it at first seems possible. In trying, we will change Quay County, our state, our world for the better. In trying, we will come closer to living out the legacy Jesus gave to the world through his life and ministry. This is a hope worth celebrating today -- indeed, every day -- whether we are Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus or non-believers. It is the essence of Christmas.
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