We just finished celebrating the Durga-Puja during September – October, and Thanksgiving in November. Here, I am getting ready to celebrate Christmas in December, just like many other years before. I have decorated my house with colorful lights, extended invitation to my friends to spend the Christmas Eve with us. My wife is getting ready to prepare the Turkey Roast. I know – nothing is more important in this world than peace, and peace can only come through love and giving. There is nothing in the world that can bring more loving and giving spirit than the spirit of Christmas. Christmas brings love and joy to those who keep their minds open. Christmas brings forth inner child in everyone who lets it come out. Many are incapable of doing so because of their preconceived dogmas. It’s a shame. They have imprisoned their minds with blind faiths in something that they know nothing about. If instead they could only open their minds and participate in every cheerful occasions, that would bring more joy and less hatred in their lives for sure. That would make the world a much better place.
My children are grown up now. But, I remember those days when they were young. I used to put up a small Christmas tree in the living room, and decorate it with my daughters. We used to put wrapped-gifts under the tree. My daughters would inspect them everyday, and try to guess what’s inside. Their curious eyes would make us all happy. They could barely wait until the morning after the Christmas night, when they can open those gifts. My older daughter knew more gifts will come from Santa in the Christmas night. It was hard for her to go to sleep that night. She used to ask me several times: ‘Daddy, do you hear anything?” I used to say – no baby nothing. “But I hear ringing bells?” she would reply. I knew she is hearing imaginary bells, and she is having trouble to fall in sleep. I would tell her – if you do not sleep, Santa won’t be able to bring more gifts for you. In fact, that was the truth.
Next morning, she would wakeup before everybody, and would run to the tree. Indeed more gifts under the tree. Who else could bring all these gifts at dead of night other than Santa? We could hear her whisper – “Thank you Santa, thank you.” We would pretend to be sleeping. She would wake us up to show what she got from Santa. That’s how celebration would kick off in our family. It would make us all happy. There is nothing in the world better than the spirit of Christmas to bring such joy in hearts of young and old alike.
I heard from a reverend that God becomes happy when we sing. At first I did not understand it. Then I realized – when my children were young, they used to sing, and that used to make me happy. I knew, for sure, they were happy at that moment. The fact is, when children are happy, parents are happy. Our lives revolve around our children. When they are happy, we are all happy. Therefore, God must be happy when we sing, and Christmas is the time for singing. There are so many beautiful Christmas songs. I love them all.
Then there are other people, who get offended by even ‘Merry Christmas’ greetings. Who are these people? More importantly, what’s in their psyche? It is hard to understand how ‘Merry Christmas’ greetings can offend someone. I try to understand them. What I have come up with is this – such persons must have filters in their brains to block all positive influences of Christmas; they must have eye-glasses with special filters to distort festive decorations around them. In stead of being merry, during the Christmas season, they become angry. They cannot understand that, mere participation in the celebration cannot make someone a Christian. He/she needs a lot more to become a Christian. If you cannot tolerate the greeting, how will you tolerate a Christian? This is ignorance; this is intolerance.
Other reasons could be jealousy. Let’s face it – Christmas is the biggest celebratory occasion in the world. I do not know if there is any other occasion that can compete with Christmas. Usually people who complain have nothing or very little to celebrate in their lives often due to their dogmas and blind faiths. They can go as far as bringing lawsuits or even inflicting physical violence to block a celebration. These are people who have missed so much in life that they cannot tolerate others enjoying lives.
Violence against a celebratory occasion is quite common in many parts of the world. We hear stories where perpetrators would trespass into an on-going celebratory occasion and vandalize the venue to stop celebration. It’s not just happening to Christians, it happens to Hindus also throughout the world, especially in the South and South-east Asian countries (e.g., Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Philippine, Indonesia, etc.). Much better story could have been if the perpetrator would join the celebration and enjoy the delight with other participants. That would have made him a happier person, as I am during the Christmas season. Participating in a Hindu festivity cannot make someone a Hindu as my participation in the Christmas celebration did not make me a Christian. My children know the difference between Christmas festivity and Christianity. People who are ignorant fools cannot make the distinction. Such misconception exists in educated as well as non-educated people around the world. I met so many people who somehow possess correct wisdom without any formal education. Many of them just guide their lives based on pure human instinct. Their brains are pure; they have protected it from the invasion of foreign dogmas and blind faiths. They are the lucky ones. Their minds are still open, and they are enjoying their lives the best ways they know how. There are lessons to be learned from them.
I dream of a day, when people of all faiths, ethnicities, races, and colors, will come together and celebrate all joyous occasions in the world; when families will have members of all faiths, ethnicities, races, and colors. By looking at the world today, it may appear to be a dream only. But, I see a glimmer of hope and a twinkle of light in this turmoil. Sudden outburst of terrorism in the world is perhaps signaling the arrival of a brighter future ahead; I know – candle flares become suddenly brighter before going off. So, the climax of intolerance, hatred, and bigotry around the world today may be nearing an end also. Let that be the message of hope in this joyous holiday season. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to You All