Merry Christmas to all.
Apart from the original Christmas story, the most stirring Christmas tale for me is the unofficial truce which broke out around Christmas Day 1914 in the trenches of France. Combatants on both sides set aside their grudges, exchanged gifts and played soccer (football) together.
On Christmas Day, 1914, in the first year of World War I, German, British, and French soldiers disobeyed their superiors and fraternized with "the enemy" along two-thirds of the Western Front. German troops held Christmas trees up out of the trenches with signs, "Merry Christmas.""You no shoot, we no shoot." Thousands of troops streamed across a no-man's land strewn with rotting corpses. They sang Christmas carols, exchanged photographs of loved ones back home, shared rations, played football, even roasted some pigs. Soldiers embraced men they had been trying to kill a few short hours before. They agreed to warn each other if the top brass forced them to fire their weapons, and to aim high.
A shudder ran through the high command on either side. Here was disaster in the making: soldiers declaring their brotherhood with each other and refusing to fight. Generals on both sides declared this spontaneous peacemaking to be treasonous and subject to court martial. By March, 1915 the fraternization movement had been eradicated and the killing machine put back in full operation. By the time of the armistice in 1918, fifteen million would be slaughtered.[Source: Excerpted from David G. Stratman, We CAN Change the World: The Real Meaning of Everyday Life (New Democracy Books, 1991)
For a brief period humanity triumphed over the evil of war mongers and the military command that supported the pursuit of 'the war to end all wars'. The "Masters of War" are still in power. They are generating communal fear and then feeding on it to hold their grip on power. Question what you are told. Trust your instincts. Fight the fear of 'strangers'. Know that all of us on this planet are brothers and sisters - treat each other as family.
Extend this thinking to other species. There is no reason to eat our fellow creatures - and so many reasons not to (the latest being the "Mad Cows disease" outbreak in the USA). Whatever your beliefs, look instinctively at the violence inherent in the murder of animals and consumption of their flesh. It breeds violence in the perpetrators and unspoken, unthought guilt in those who eat the flesh. A heart attack from excess animal fats is not quite instant karma but there is the very unpleasant irony that the consumer becomes consumed. Let me restate that no human needs to eat animals to have a healthy life. Indeed not eating animals is likely to give you a healthier and longer life. There is ample evidence all over the 'net. Seek the truth. I'll provide some pointers at another time.
The ongoing Christmas wish is for peace on earth - we all need to see beyond ideologies that set one against another, and instead find the means to ensure ongoing peace on earth. The goodwill evident around Christmas should be present each and every day of the year.
That can begin with the simplest act - tolerance on our roads during this busy period. I do know my tolerance will be tested by drivers of two-tonne plus off-roaders/SUVs who throw their chariots around as if they are sports cars. I hope that they can become enlightened as to the laws of physics (particularly momentum) before anyone comes to harm.
May peace triumph.