It’s Christmas once again. We think of others on Christmas. What to share with them, what gifts to give them. Every year, we say, ‘no presents please!’ And every year, we buy presents! The gathering of family and friends, that’s the tradition we want to keep. Not the presents we feel we are obliged to give. It’s a minefield wracking our brain thinking what will they want or appreciate. MONEY. Life in a fast lane has shrunk our time and the rising cost of living has eaten away our meagre resources. Some feel they are in a pressure cooker. Still what we want is to enter a world where everyone is happy. That surely is the bottom line.

So back to Christmas.  The Christmas tradition is Christian.  Love, in principle, is at the core of that tradition. Love God above all else and love your neighbour as you love yourself. Simple. But guess what? It is we who complicate this simple maxim.  Who or what is God? What is ‘love’ exactly? Who is our ‘neighbour’? In what way does God relate to us? How on earth did we come to exist? When we die, is it the end of everything for us? What is ‘eternity’? Does eternity really exist?

There goes bust the idea of Christmas, if we cannot ask what Christmas means!

Hang on. When we are at liberty to ask questions, we are not compelled to believe. We are not nailed to the ground given no ability to think and to voice our thoughts. We are free. Even if we pepper our brain with questions that we cannot answer, we know that we experience ‘love’ at one-time or another.This feeling must come from somewhere or must mean something to us.

To discover Truth is not exclusive of any faith and has nothing to do with being a Christian or of celebrating Christmas! Something out there makes us feel good, or makes us feel loved!


The 21st century challenges our sense of security when people of conviction blow themselves up to harm other people. Where is ‘love’ of neighbour, of self, or of the mystery we call God or, what is ‘nature’ that speaks of creation to Indigenous people so profoundly.


And because evil does exist, we blame ‘God’ for the hurt we inflict on our neighbour or even on ourselves when we decide life is not worth living because we no longer find meaning in our existence.  The glimmer of hope we have erased. Dark emptiness, unbearable despair, loss of faith in the meaning of life, we find ourselves in a vacuum where there seems to be no way out!  Who is responsible for us ending up in this space?

Where is that thing we call ‘love’?

Perhaps we need to go back to basics. Peel off the layers of myths some people have constructed to wholly embrace realpolitik, a so-called ‘truth’ that justifies the power to enslave others and to excise a substantial proportion of the earth’s resources for the sole use of a minority. Greed, violence, injustice, selfishness disempower. They  steal the sense of good and good will and meaning in the other.

We then tend to forget that through no effort on our part, we have found ourselves gifted with the breath of life.

Love is grace from the giver of life that we share with nature all around us, and we are privileged to have been gifted with the power to question, to choose life or death and to find our own path in the maze of mystery we call ‘life’.

It’s Christmas again. In Australia’s secular society, Christmas has become a time for the gathering of families, a time for catching up with friends, a time for reuniting with each other over a meal, a time for giving or receiving gifts. Retail shops are buzzing with shoppers entangled with the culture of gift giving on Christmas Day! We have commercialised Christmas, and have replaced needs with wants.

Nevertheless, we still cling on to the thought of being with one another, of making each other happy. And when through no fault of our own, we are denied that time of being with the people we love, our heart is filled with sadness.

Surely the bottom line is: we were ‘loved’ first. This, I believe.

Personally, I would like to keep that culture of ‘loving’ going, not the measure of how much the gift is worth or whether one had the money to spend to buy a gift at all. For me, I’m happy to follow the teaching of caring and sharing, whether or not it’s Christmas.

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