Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What have you done?

What is your favorite holiday song? This was a question posed in a recent forward that I received from a friend at work. I didn't give much thought to my answer, because O Holy Night has always been one of my favorites during the Christmas season. Until two nights ago.

I was sitting in front of the television screen hoping to zone out to any program that I could find on a major network at 8 pm EST. I started watching the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting and being a sucker for live performances, I eagerly watched. I admit that I even stayed tuned for the Jonas brothers and Miley Cyrus. Mid-way through the program, David Cook, winner of American Idol this year, sang a beautiful rendition of "Happy Christmas" by John Lennon. At a time in our country when we have elected the first African-American president and vowed to make change in our country, several lyrics stood out. For those of you who do not know the song:

And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The world is so wrong
And so happy Christmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let's stop all the fight
A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear
And so this is Christmas
And what have we done
Another year over
And a new one just begun

The overarching message in the lyrics is that of unity. The virtue of unity calls us to see our commonality without devaluing our differences. Experience connectedness with all people and all life. Unity frees us from the divisiveness of prejudice and heals our fears. It comes when we value every person, in our family or in our world.

In America we watch countries suffer under the demise of disunity and the need for power. The current cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe was caused by the collapse of an economy and health system in a country plagued by fighting and conflict. The war that we are still fighting to win in Iraq was brought upon us by a fundamental disagreement between the Suni and Shiite sects of the Muslim religion.

If we all made an attempt to unite our families and seek unity in all of our relationships, then the world would be a much more peaceful place to live. I look at the phrase in John Lennons's lyrics "and what have we done?" I hope you will seek common ground, appreciate differences, resolve conflict peacefully and honor the value of each individual. Be a unifier.

With peace and hope,

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