This Christmas

23 Dec

Even before the recent tragedies, I’ve noticed that this holiday season has been a bit muted.  There seem to be less lights out, less cheer, less jollity than I remember in a long time.  Of course it’s understandable, the mood of the country is decidedly sour, and people feel a bit lost in the shuffle in all the unpleasant news around.

Here’s what I’d like to see this Christmas, more goodwill.  Goodwill is just assuming that everyone is doing the best they can to the best of their ability and knowledge until proven otherwise.  I can have goodwill–that doesn’t mean I”ll agree with everyone’s opinions or think what they are doing is the wisest move all the time, but I can assume it’s what they think is right, and it’s acknowledging there are huge swathes of experience in anybody’s life that I am not aware of right now.  It’s the same sort of thinking that helps if a cashier is being cranky to you, you can either make it all about you (which it’s probably not) or just jump to the conclusion that they’re having a hard day, and you don’t know if this cashier has just dealt with five jerks before seeing your face before them.

Goodwill helps a lot–it’s also hoping for the best for people, getting away from the idea that good things are limited, and that anybody getting a good thing is a good thing in itself.  It gets rid of jealousy or envy, and in most ordinary interactions we can assume that people mean well even if it doesn’t come out quite right.

Goodwill also takes away the urge to change people’s minds about things.  After all, everyone has their own opinions on things, and discussions on the more sensitive ones tend to leave people entrenched rather than creating understanding.  With goodwill, I don’t even have to understand why someone has an opinion I wouldn’t have, I just assume that they have it for their own reasons, which ultimately we all do anyway.

So I hope for everyone, a wonderful holiday, whatever that may include for you, to be reminded of your blessings, to be able to enjoy some of the good things of this world, brightness, warmth, gentleness,  and hope.    And once you get these things this holiday, may you never let them go.

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