CHRISTMAS MESSAGE TO THOSE WHO WANT TO LISTEN
by Michael Mona
Today we are faced with the preeminent fact that if civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationship, the ability of all people of all kinds to live together and work together in the world of peace, because we find ourselves living in a global age with problems and conflicts on a global scale. Either we shall learn to resolve these problems together, or we shall destroy one another. To achieve this dream we must have leaders who can hold the affection of the people, those who are liked for their simplicity, sincerity, modesty and genuine desire to do what is right.
This dream should be the duty of everyone, to unite in the restoration of mankind, and the reestablishment of peace and harmony. But strange as it seems even in our modern civilization, we see groups with conflicting beliefs whether politically or ideologically, disagreement over such matters, and people even condemn and persecute each other. This has been the root of many of the most serious conflicts for years.
If we hope to enjoy some semblance of tranquility, then it is imperative to have leaders who can inspire affection and trust — we need men of sound judgment and the ability and strength of character to represent the people. We need leaders who could furnish us with a field of opportunity — a gate of escape from the bondage of the past, with freshness and confidence, and to lead mankind out of fear, savagery, poverty and tyranny into a world of peace, unity and progress. We need men who will inspire the race to new hopes and new dreams. Doesn't anyone realize our civilization is on the brink of decadence?
On December 25, we will (hopefully) celebrate a most cherished holiday: the feast of the Nativity of our Lord. Christmas is supposed to be a day people go to church to pray together — a day of joy — families and friends gather to celebrate the occasion. But ironically it seems as though we have lost the meaning of what Christmas is all about. How can we pretend to celebrate Christmas in good spirit, while in some countries, people by the thousands are being killed almost everyday, and children are massacred or left homeless and crying for their parents? People have lost their identity. How can we pretend to enjoy Christmas, yet there's so much hate and the world is imprisoned in a web of tension — and the fear that the world might explode into an ugly devastation and world conflict? Look around, you see people afraid to believe or trust one another. Consequently, we must make it our moral duty to find solutions to cure the ills that are hurting society — not by building walls — we must build bridges so we can embrace one another. How can we pretend to enjoy Christmas while the world is torn with racial antagonism, and it is effacing the essence of our lives? Isn't it strange, we are living in a world of awesome advancement and progress, yet paradoxically, with appalling and mounting evil? How can we pretend there's a true Christmas spirit, yet poverty and famine exist in all God's creation? We are seeing countries that keep parading their military might to impress the world that they are capable of destroying the world? How can we pretend to celebrate Christmas in good faith, yet we are letting our culture be marked by violence, dislocation and rootlessness? How can we ignore the millions of people who are hungry and taking their food where they can find it and sleeping wherever fate decrees? Poverty and hunger can destroy you — it could make you bitter and resentful -it can sap your energy and tempt you to give up. This is ugly and tragic. Are we living in a lawless and heartless world?
Dear God, why is there so much hate, distrust, bigotry, corruption, greed, deceit and wickedness? Man should realize that we are living in the most dangerous time in the history of mankind - and we are just one push away from the ultimate holocaust.
It has been a tradition to decorate our homes and trees with holly, but why decorate with holly if we have no holly in our hearts? Why celebrate outwardly if the Christmas spirit is not in us? On Christmas eve, as church bells peal and chimes ring out, open your windows and shout to the world, "Christ is born - let peace and good will exist among all peoples."
My Christmas prayer: "May the Lord's love and grace shine upon all people and may He guide us in the way of peace and understanding among everyone. Please God, grant us a life crowned with contentment and a sense of purpose."
Michael Mona is a senior member of the St. Mary's Church in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
From Word Magazine
Publication of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America