Today is Christmas Day, a day on which Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, one of the most memorable spiritual teachers of the ages. But this day is celebrated not only to remember the teacher, but to remind us that the practices of kindness, mercy, compassion, and forgiveness are not a once a year thing, but a way of everyday living. These teachings, handed down through the centuries by those who practiced this life discipline, are still with us today. When we read about the spiritual teachings of most of the other major religions present in the world today, we find that most of these teachings are at the heart of each, no matter the form of worship or devotion.
Loving each other has always been, and will always be, the most important lessons for all of us, with all of the other teachings springing from it. Generosity of spirit, demonstrated by others around the world throughout the centuries - Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas, and Kris Kringle to name a few - is but one manifestation of the lessons handed down throughout the ages. Treating others as you would be treated - with respect, kindness, tolerance, patience, and mercy - is all part of those lessons as well. Try, for a moment, to imagine what the world could be like if everyone on it should start living their lives with love and compassions for one another. No one would go hungry or thirsty or unclothed. There would be no more wars, and the world would be a completely different place.
As we move through our celebrations today, let us pause here and there to reflect on the true meaning of why we are celebrating. We are honoring not only the teacher who sacrificed all to teach us, but the lessons he taught us - to love one another, with all our virtues and flaws, and to live our lives with kindness and compassion.