Christmas truly is the most wonderful time of the year.
Anyone who disagrees provides justification to be called a Grinch.
All jokes aside, if you can’t get behind Christmas, I’m not sure there’s much that I can do for you in this column.
The holiday season is a time of year in which people can especially unite and find commonality in the joy of this special season. A time in which we can take the time to slow down from our typical routines and enjoy one another.
When I think back so fondly on the many Christmases of my past, I’m not sure I can recall more than only a few of the gifts that I’ve received on the mornings of Dec. 25. Don’t get me wrong, in the short term, opening presents on Christmas can be unbelievably thrilling. But in the long term, the excitement of objects typically fades away as gifts are either discarded or become just another item to add to our many tangible possessions.
What I remember most about Christmas morning is walking down the stairs from my bedroom, and seeing the faces of my parents, my sister and my dog shining brighter than the elaborately decorated tree in my family room. The memories we create with those who mean the most to us are the ones that will endure. We must remember that Christmas is not only the gifting season, but also the relationships season.
We should seek to maintain and even bolster our spiritual relationship with God just as much as the relationships with our family and friends during the holidays. Spirituality can guide us during important times in our lives, comfort us when we face adversity and keep us grounded in our path to self-actualization.
We must also recognize how fortunate we are to be provided the gift of a Notre Dame education, along with the many other comforts provided to us throughout our lives. Many people living nearby, even in our local communities, might not be as fortunate as we have been in our lives.
When I look at America and even the world today, I see an unnecessarily estranged environment. We all live in the Notre Dame bubble, which might be an oasis from the struggles and the strife that occur, but turn on the news for just a few minutes and you will get a better idea of the many unfortunate situations that are present outside of this campus.
I know it may be impossible to eliminate all of the countless issues around us that seem to multiply daily. However, we have the capability to impact those around us in a positive manner each and every day. We should not be detached from the issues around us. The holidays are especially the giving season, but why can’t we be generous on a consistent basis rather than emphasizing our own self-interests? We are all guilty of self-interested behavior, but if we are more aware of others and their perspectives, we will be the beneficiaries as much as anyone else.
Small actions such as donating money, food or a book to local communities can make a huge difference in impoverished communities. Volunteering to mentor or tutor a young person can allow someone to further his or her growth and intellectual maturation and begin to accomplish incredible things that truly better society. Even just striking up a conversation with somebody we’ve never met before can make that person’s day and ours.
We can all make a huge impact, an impact that collectively can create an incredible power for good. Through positive behaviors, society can rise to incredible heights. We have been granted so many gifts and talents, there is certainly a need to help each other, and we each have the ability to help one another in some capacity.
This Christmas season and beyond, let’s commit to do what we can to work together, so that we can all reap the benefits and move forward locally, nationally and globally.