Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Goodness and light

our tree, full of light and  hope
Christmas lights are my favorite metaphor for the Christmas season: tiny lights shimmering through the darkness.  Their brightness beckons through the cold black night: "Here is warmth and light and happiness!"  You are drawn toward them, drawn to the hope and magical possibilities they bring.  That's what this season feels like to me: something wonderful is shining bright ahead in the darkness.

I've always loved Advent just as much as I love Christmas itself.  Not Advent like going to church and lighting those candles on the wreath, but Advent in its purest sense: the anticipation and hopefulness that permeate this season.  At this time of year, I feel a sense of hope and possibility that just isn't there the rest of the year.  With Christmas coming, anything is possible.  True peace and love and happiness for everyone: it's coming, it could happen!  Something is coming to change the world!  Is this how the shepherds and wise men felt?  I like to think so; I like to think the atmosphere was just like the song "Do You Hear What I Hear?" where everyone spreads the word that "He will bring us goodness and light".

If only everyone could feel this hope and promise all year long, it might really come true.  I don't mean that everyone has to believe in Christmas or be a Christian, but if everyone could believe in the possibility of peace; if everyone of all cultures could come together and see each other with love instead of fear.  After all, the "3 Wise Kings" were men from a different culture who traveled far with the hope of a future filled with peace.

One of my favorite Christmas songs captures the feeling much better than I can describe, so please enjoy:

I love the part where they join together to sing: "Every child must be made aware / every child must be made to care / care enough for his fellow man / to give all the love that he can..."  The imagery of David Bowie and Bing Crosby, who were so different, coming together to sing those words makes it even more powerful.  This is one of my goals (or at least, idealistic hopes and wishes!) as a teacher and one of the reasons I feel that teaching culture is essential in the language classroom.  I strive to help my students become aware of other ways of life in a way that leads them to respect others enough to treat them with kindness and love.

"Peace on earth, can it be?"


  1. You are so right in your thinking, this is a season of hope and goodness. It would make for a lovely world if everyone look at one another with love. (Thanks for thinking I was waaaay younger. How young is that? My son married a wonderful girl with a daughter, so I was an instant grandma. Fun for me!)

  2. Tolerance of others is a beautiful thing. I wish it wasn't so hard for so many. Thanks for a hopeful post!

  3. I write a newsletter for my staff & put a quote in part of it. This week's was "If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other." ~Mother Teresa I like the way you wound through your thoughts and explained your happiness and excitement about this time of year. It is a renewal, a time for reflection and wanting things to be good! And Jennifer, if you don't already know it, there's a site called Teaching Tolerance that is wonderful in its philosophy and it shows so many good lessons for inclusion. Merry Christmas!


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