OK: the central message of December and the Christmas season is love.
And love is impossible to define. Love has always been. The reason: love is one of those subjects that has too many meanings. The idea of love is subjective. It is based upon individual beliefs. My idea of love can be much different from my neighbors’.
Now, Christmas is clearly a time for celebration.
In the Caribbean and the hot tropics, Christmas is as wonderful as Christmas up North, and everywhere else.
There is wonder and merriment.
Families get together. There is increased religious activity. There is caroling on the streets by culturally attired singers; Christmas Shopping is a culture of its own; then the ubiquitous office party with fancy dress codes, and gift exchanges.
And even in the hot south, Santa Claus is a big deal for both kids and adults. Santa does not travel by reindeer pulled sleigh, sliding down a chimney as in the northern hemisphere. Santa Claus arrives on Tortola in a speed boat loaded with goodwill and gifts.
In the Virgin Islands
revelers dressed as Santa Claus fill streets, there are Christmas church services, Christmas fairs, Culture and Lobster festivals, caroling evenings at churches, concerts at the Festival Village, caroling from late night to early morning on the majestic hills of the archipelago, Fungi songs, Lashing Dogs, Elmore Stoutt sings an enchanting calypso, and dances Merengue with pretty native maidens; Another Calypso King and legend called FOXY does his thing on New Year’s Eve
Now December is also the time for reflection. What will the New year bring? And loved ones who have passed on come to mind. Death remains the great mystery: whether we like it or not we all have to meet with that final earthly foe; death remains a vast mystery to mortals.
The great equalizer respects no one. The most powerful human on earth cannot defeat death. The billionaire is no better than the beggar at death: king and peasant inhabit a common fate when the grim reaper appears.
Yes. The deep questions of philosophy appear at Christmas for the thoughtful. Why are we here? How did we get here? How must we live? How must we interact with other species? What will happen after death? Why do we feel pain, and why do we acknowledge suffering and sorrow? Scientists cannot define the preceding- especially good and evil; and love, kindness, and compassion.
For the scientist, everything in existence is triplicate: matter, space, and time. Human beings came from matter, live within space and time, and will return to matter at death.
However, science cannot explain the why of existence. Science cannot assert accurately on terms such as human emotion, conscience, consciousness, thought, good, evil, and especially love. Sigmund Freud states all behavior begins at the sub-conscience: then Freud advises us to stay far away from negative and miserable folk. That is the most science has to offer, ultimately.
Death is where science ends. But paradoxically, death is why Christmas is the most joyous time of the year. And this is evidently not understood by the majority of the world’s consumers, who see Christmas as an orgy of shopping, eating, drinking, partying, and carousing.
Now. All the world’s religions offer assertions on life and death. These are dogmas and rules handed down from one generation to another. All of religion is based on thought. Thoughts that originated with flawed humans, who claim they have possession of divine truth. However, belief remains a very personal affair: a very private matter. And so it should be. We cannot force our beliefs on others. We can simply lead by example.
For Believers such as this Old Boy, he sees no contradiction between the Historic Jesus and Science. He remains a firm believer in the Nicene Creed, which is the greatest tale ever told; that over 2000 years ago the greatest event of all time occurred.
The God of this Universe, the creator of time and space that scientists claim began at BIG BANG, put on the garb of his creation, and stepped into time and space, a vulnerable baby in a manger. GOD in Christ spent thirty-three years on earth, a living example of human love, kindness, and humility. His violent death, at the hands of the religious authorities appeared to be the end of His life.
But in the greatest twist of all time, His death on a wooden Roman cross put to an end the idea of eternal oblivion in a cold grave, and at Easter, His resurrection from that grave offered the greatest hope of all time: eternal life, and the hope of reunion with loved ones already passed on.
Yes, that is the true meaning of Christmas. The celebration of the greatest gift ever offered to anyone. The celebration of true love: God offering the gift of Himself, through Jesus Christ, for a decaying and dying humanity.
As we sit down with loved ones this Christmas Time to feast at the dining table, and open up the presents under the Christmas tree, let us make one great effort, to keep at the back of our mind what Christmas really means.
Christmas, whether we choose to believe or not, is the celebration of the greatest gift ever offered. A Christmas present was given to a troubled world by the all-powerful Creator of Time and Space: the gift of His love.
So, no matter your beliefs, let love be the central theme of your life, and then kindness and compassion easily follow. Love alone drives the human virtues that matter: patience, endurance, humility, kindness, compassion.
Love is always a precursor to a better world.
But love is not easily explained. Theologians and philosophers have attempted to assert and ponder on Love, and have all essentially failed. The closest one may assert on love is that love is the sacrifice of self for the other. Love is unconditional. It is the outflow of goodwill from one to another, even if the other is an enemy, or difficult to love.
Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is not selfish. Love keeps no record of wrong.
Love never fails.