Though Christmas is a “Christian” holiday, I celebrate it as a secular holiday with spiritual overtones. I regard Jesus of Nazareth as a great spiritual teacher whose teachings and message have largely been lost to those who claim to be his followers. It is his message of peace, compassion and good will that I try to observe this day and every day. His message was much the same as other great spiritual teachers such as the Buddha and the sages who wrote the Vedas and other sacred texts.
My spirit is influenced by all who seek peace. I do my best to not get caught up in the crass commercialism that has become the norm for this and many other holidays. I reject the notion that our worth as human beings, as family, as friends, is somehow dependent upon the monetary value of the gifts we give and receive. We all have value but so many are unaware of their value as it is buried beneath layer upon layer of illusion which must be stripped away to reveal the divine nature within.
To be a good person, one does not have to be a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Wiccan, a pagan or a follower of any faith or religion. One simply chooses to be a good person and acts accordingly by choosing thoughts, words and actions of kindness and compassion without attachment to the fruits of those actions or expectation of reward. It is what you decide to do every day that makes you a good person — or not. Is that so difficult? In the end, it’s what you do that counts, not what you believe. Evil done and violence committed in the name of your god does not make it any less evil or any less violent.
“I put no stock in religion. By the word religion I have seen the lunacy of fanatics of every denomination be called the will of god. I have seen too much religion in the eyes of too many murderers. Holiness is in right action, and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves, and goodness. What god desires is here [points to head] and here [points to heart] and what you decide to do every day, you will be a good man – or not.”
Hospitaller, Kingdom of Heaven (2005)
Whether you are Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, pagan, atheist or whatever, the reason for the season is the message of kindness and compassion toward our fellow man as well as the planet we inhabit and the creatures with whom we share it.