serene ambition™

transforming the culture of aging

Christmas 2006

Posted by Jim Selman on 12/25/06

Christmas is just about here, then the ramp up for New Year’s Eve and the post-holiday recovery. I am looking at the Christmas cards we’ve received and thinking about what to say that hasn’t been said a hundred ways already at this time of year. “Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward Men” seems to pretty much capture the point of Christ’s message, but then it also captures the message of Mohammed, Buddha, a bunch of Hindu Gurus, most Jews, Zoroaster, and just about everyone I know. So why is there so little peace and not a lot of goodwill?

It is one of those ironies (or paradoxes?)—just like when everyone says they believe in ‘straight talk’, why is there so much bullshit? Maybe it is a habit, or maybe something else is going on.

I think the Christmas message is lost because we are culturally blind to the possibility we are. We are trapped in our historical stories and fears, trapped inside what we imagine is realistic and doable. Rather than accepting responsibility for the “reality” that we have created and having our actions express our vision of a world that works for everyone—peace on earth and goodwill toward all men and women—we are resigned that we can’t make a difference. We’ve learned to cope with the way things are, rather than committing ourselves to transforming the human condition and creating what is possible. If there is any meaning left to Christmas, it is to bring about this universally desired transformation of the human condition of fear and isolation that divides us and perpetuates suffering around the world.

Whatever you are doing on Monday—whether celebrating the religious significance of Christmas, being with family and friends, just enjoying a day off or participating in some sort of service—take a moment to think about what is possible for yourself, for your community and for the world. And then do something, no matter how small it may seem, to bring that possibility into reality. When a critical mass of individuals are taking actions that are aligned with a vision of ‘peace and goodwill’, then we will, perhaps for the first time, experience and practice what all of the world’s spiritual masters have been promising.

I want to thank all my friends and family for their love and support this year, for their encouraging my daily blogging and for sharing my vision of growing older INTO a culture in which the end of life is as rich and filled with possibility as the beginning. I want to especially thank Shae Hadden for her commitment to this project. Serene Ambition is going to take a short holiday and we’ll be back with new postings on the 28th. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and most loving holiday season.


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