Personal Journeys with Gramma

Life adventures, inspiration and insight; shared in articles, advice, personal chats and pictures.

Becoming One of Santa’s Elves!

Selflessness—giving the best of your self to enhance life for others—that philosophy is beneath the example of Jesus…and is central to sacred holidays in major religions besides Christianity, as well. Even if you aren’t traditionally religious, you can embrace the civilizing idea of giving and caring for one another that should underlie Santa Claus exchanges.

But as I look around, it seems that mean old Mr. Potter (from IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE) has won. Kindly Bedford Falls is being transformed into depraved Pottersville. George Bailey’s life didn’t matter enough. The burdens the newly passed American tax revisions will create for all middle and low-income citizens of the United States (including me) throw icy water on my Christmas spirit. I can’t help picturing people—especially children—with cancer being denied treatment so somebody can indulge in more and more material excess. I think of single parents I know who can barely pay their bills now. I think of the disaster victims in Puerto Rico, our American territory, being crushed by taxes meant for foreign countries while we punish immigrants for believing in the Statue of Liberty. I feel deep sorrow and humiliation. The hypocrisy of claiming goodwill toward humankind in such circumstances sours the sweet Christmas carols.

Last night I watched a Netflix DVD from a 2007 film titled FRACTURE with Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling. It wasn’t what most people would think of as Christmas fare. In it, a cocky young attorney struggles to thwart a wealthy man who has murdered his wife in a plan so brilliant that it seems he is beyond justice. Failure surrounds the attorney as he loses his job, his girlfriend, the two people who most needed his protection, and his hope. Why did this film impress me (beyond its script and performances) as a Christmas message? Because the attorney refuses to compromise his ethics. And he won’t give up. He finally makes a difference.

You, me, all of us—we are charged to deliver the promise of Christmas. We can’t give up even in the face of overwhelming odds against us. We have great role models from the past to follow. We can’t leave the job for someone else to do this time. The challenge is big enough that it’s going to need everyone to pitch in—people of different religions, different cultural backgrounds, different races and genders. We don’t have enough personal fortunes to thwart the powerful directly, but we have the numbers, the votes, if only we’ll use them. Americans must prove we believe what we’ve been teaching our children.

Going forward, I intend to use new courage and determination. I intend to radiate the light I want to give to the world while I’m here, and I encourage you to rise with me. I intend to join the many who are already working to transform our materialistic society into a country we can respect in our hearts. For example, Michiganders from both political parties are opposing gerrymandering in an attempt to resuscitate democracy. Citizens of individual states are struggling to enact policies that defy shortsighted federal mandates. We are Santa’s elves. We are the makers of peace and goodwill.

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