The argument for playing politics in a so-called democratic system never ceases to amaze. During the winter holidays, family is usually the forefront of every conversation and sentiment on people’s minds. Giving the perfect gift to the most beloved is also on the minds of those no matter what race, religion, or political persuasion. Nothing gives like the gift of light and love, which can only be garnered from truth. Lies and deception shade and tarnish the brilliant light of truth, and with that sentiment, the usual winter task that many venture to look into is one’s genealogy.
Whether it’s setting in front of a fire looking through photo albums or searching the Internet for documents that shed light on bloodlines, DNA or any other kind of familial verification; peace, happiness, and security rests in knowing who you are and where you come from. Last year, a friend gave me a holiday card, and even though Christmas is not my holiday, there is a universal message on the card that can be appreciated by Howard W. Hunter. He wrote this:
“Mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love and speak it again.”
Those twenty-two sentences are a tall order for anyone, but broken down into a short palpable idea, the verses expound on the simple, yet profound idea of the golden rule. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” That verse comes out of the Bible, and a similar verse comes out of the Islamic Quran; more specifically the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad during his last khutbah (speech) on Mount Arafat.
He said, “You are not a true Muslim, until you want for your brother what you want for yourself, and the blood, honor, and property of your Muslim brother is as sacred to you, as your own blood, honor, and property.” This is the definition of true loyalty. The true loyalty should be to the One almighty God, first and foremost.
J. R. R. Tolkien wrote his trilogy and Hobbit series after experiencing both WWI and preceding WWII. The Hobbit and 5 Battles is on the holiday fare for those whose tradition it is to go to the movies during their vacation. Among all the battle grandeur is a similar golden thread in the message of Thorin who realizes that starting the grand battle for the loss of honor from loosing an heirloom is rather an act of barbarity because flesh and blood surpasses the value of any material object. Just as Ebeneezer Scrooge comes to his senses after his holiday nightmare, Thorin realizes in a horrifying delusion that all his tribe’s wealth will liquefy and he will drown in the center of it if he continues to hold his grudge against the Elfin army.
This author hopes that people will take time to reflect on belief in one God, the importance of family and how all the materialism that comes with consumerism during this season will not bring peace, happiness or security that many of us have come to enjoy as our God given birthright.
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