I like Christmas. I like the thought of new snow quietly falling on grey days, leaving a vast expanse of white sitting like a plush blanket on the slumbering earth. I like the strings of tiny coloured lights that punctuate the human landscape in the darkest days of the year, sending little streams of light out through the gloom, and bringing a small measure of joy into everyday life. I like the way people can be more cheerful, more tolerant – and perhaps, in the way we remember the joy of giving, more conscious of a life beyond the everyday dronery of this material existence.
Generally, Baha’is don’t celebrate Christmas – but I think we can all appreciate the spiritual aspects of the holiday. The challenge for every one of us is to see beyond the materialism that eats at our everyday lives like rust, and to act as if we are spiritual beings with a greater purpose than just making money and spending money. We are capable of great acts of kindness, selflessness, caring and generosity. We just forget sometimes. We are capable of trustworthiness, of forgiveness, of honesty and charity. We tend to forget all of that in between commercial breaks and fleeting distractions. We are capable of not just tolerance or respect – our hearts can burn with loving-kindness for all those who may cross our paths.
Now must the lovers of God arise to carry out these instructions of His: let them be kindly fathers to the children of the human race, and compassionate brothers to the youth, and self-denying offspring to those bent with years. The meaning of this is that ye must show forth tenderness and love to every human being, even to your enemies, and welcome them all with unalloyed friendship, good cheer, and loving-kindness. When ye meet with cruelty and persecution at another’s hands, keep faith with him; when malevolence is directed your way, respond with a friendly heart. To the spears and arrows rained upon you, expose your breasts for a target mirror-bright; and in return for curses, taunts and wounding words, show forth abounding love. Thus will all peoples witness the power of the Most Great Name, and every nation acknowledge the might of the Ancient Beauty, and see how He hath toppled down the walls of discord, and how surely He hath guided all the peoples of the earth to oneness; how He hath lit man’s world, and made this earth of dust to send forth streams of light.
So— whether or not we have a white Christmas, may you all have a bright Christmas, and may it mean something to you.