By Dawn Onley
Peace is precious. And like other precious resources, it needs to be protected. At all costs.
As we enter the holiday season, we are already besieged with noise: Christmas songs, crowds, commercials, store circulars, political ads, end-of-year fundraising requests. Everything is coming at us at once, vying for our limited attention. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed in the hoo-ha.
Stress is at an all-time high this time of year. Everything is exacerbated and visceral. Our joys. Our pain. We remember our family and friends who are no longer here with us with greater sadness because we spend this time of the year with our loved ones. When they are gone, their absence is seen and felt, like an empty chair set around the dinner table.
There is pressure to spend money we don’t have in this never ending quest to accrue stuff that we won’t even care about next year. A year from now, there will be new and improved items for us to buy. Christmas is becoming increasingly materialistic and we are drifting further away from the true meaning of the season – to spread love, peace and joy.
The birth of Jesus, the reason for the season, is an afterthought to commercialism.
Keeping ourselves protected and our new loot secure is an additional thing to stress about. Sadly, we have to be ever vigilant to our surroundings. There are people with bad intent who thrive during this time of year, waiting to prey on innocent people with their scams, robberies, and identity thefts.
This is precisely why we need to take a step back, breathe and spend time on the things that truly matter: giving thanks for all of our blessings, giving to those in need, sipping egg nog and decorating the tree, spending catch-up time with friends, taking in a movie, reading a book, trying out that new recipe, watching the gleam in a child’s eye on Santa’s lap. We need to relax, take time off of work if we have it, to reflect on this year. What were the highlights? What did we learn that we didn’t know before? In what areas did we grow?
We need to spend some time in this year’s waning days contemplating our future and preparing for it. What will we do differently in 2016? What will we accomplish? What new experiences will we create? How will we give back?
There’s a lot of chatter in the world. During this time of year, it can become deafening and distracting. Learning to ignore things is one of the great paths to inner peace, according to Robert J. Sawyer, a science fiction writer from Canada.
Let’s celebrate the holidays with the ones we love. Let’s tune our minds to the beauty of the season and shield our spirits from the chaos and noise.
Let’s keep peace still.