What a year! There is a great quote that may or may not be from a Chinese proverb, but came to mind as we thought about this year that is coming to an end: “may you live in interesting times.” There are many reasons to celebrate this Christmas as we prepare to spend time with our loved ones. Some of us are spending lots of money buying gifts for family and friends, while some of us are going against the trend attempting to stem the tide of mercantilism that prevails during the holidays.
We live in a time of political upheaval that threatens to become more worrisome, not just for the White House, but for all of us. Many of the things that are causing us stress are beyond our control, but one thing we can manage is how we celebrate the Christmas season or Chanukah or whatever holiday we choose. We could be moved by a spirit of generosity and a desire to bring solace to others. We could choose to share time and money with those less fortunate. The truth is that when we are generous towards others the rewards are greater than the gift. As we prepare to eat, drink, and share time with those we love, we should keep in mind the millions of people here and around the globe that cannot celebrate because they are in the midst of war or because they are too poor and they might be without shelter. This is a time to reflect on the accident of birth that put us where we are, and, if we are the lucky ones, to be grateful for our fate. It is important to recognize that however much we have received in life, we owe other human beings our spiritual support and we must feel an obligation to share. There are people everywhere who live lives of deprivation and we don’t have to look too far to find them.
We live in Philadelphia, one of the poorest urban centers in this country, and we labor in the midst of one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city. But we also know that the will to fight against poverty, creating businesses, improving our schools and educating our people keeps us as a vibrant community. We lament the fate of so many parents separated from their children at the border with Mexico and hope that our government will enact more enlightened immigration laws. We have to recognize the generous spirit of those who reach out and bring that aid in person. Let’s try once again to share with them no matter how small our contribution. It is our fervent hope that the poor and disenfranchised will have better lives next year. If you are one of the fortunate few we hope you share. To all our readers we wish you a Joyful Christmas.