What is it about Christmas that draws us in?
At its heart — it’s a birthday celebration and I guess we all like birthday parties. Sharing a moment with a special someone who stands there, a little embarrassed, as everyone starts singing, Happy Birthday.
But on Christmas, that special person is not actually there, is He? In spirit perhaps, we might guess at what he wants for his birthday. We might think we know and merrily go about the holiday with a sense of purpose as we deliver on a promise. But how often do we get it right?
What about this year, 2020? The year of the Pandemic. The year, American Politics turned itself inside out and showed the rest of us, the inner workings in a most unappealing way. The year people stood up to the injustices that had become common place and said enough. The year millions of people out there, many of them front line medical workers, showed a selfless side that we can all emulate and be thankful for. A year where leaders around the world were given a chance to show true leadership and compassion and with a few wonderful exceptions, fell on their collective faces and failed to deliver.
In a year where we can certainly be forgiven for kicking and screaming and shouting out obscenities for it being a year of too much — instead we continue to show compassion and love and a spirit of determination for change.
We continue to stand tall and stand in line to vote. We continue to pray and wish good things upon others, even while our political leader crawl over the barricades to get their vaccination shots, while flexing their muscles for the cameras and showing a wondrous ability to forget their previous beliefs that the Coronavirus didn’t even exist.
So, in keeping with this year’s celebration, what are we getting him for his birthday? What gift do we think he’d like? A new Apple computer or iPhone? A Tesla? A trip to the Space Station maybe or a paid junket around the world, all his favorite cities, to see how everyone is doing?
Knowing him as well as anyone else, I think I know what he would like this year. Probably the same thing that he has wanted since the beginning. Since he first stepped out on his own. Since the holiday was first placed on the calendar — all those years ago.
For us, all of us, to be happy. To be living compassionately and helpful to others. Being thankful for what we have and striving to improve our lot and creating an environment of change all around us. Positive change. Compassionate change that culminates in all people being perceived as equal. Where justice is pursued and not just etched on statutes and building facades.
I think he would like that. I think most of us would like that as well.
In addition, for this year of too much, I will like to say Merry Christmas to all those I have met and worked with at ILLUMINATION.
It’s been an interesting year. A year filled with tears and heartache, sadness and jubilation. A year, awkwardly stumbling from one manmade disaster to another without giving up hope or the will to change it. A year, we won’t be forgetting any time soon, and yet one that many of us will claim to be one of the most reformative years ever.
A year that unashamedly exposed prejudice and injustice, a systemic lack of compassion and love and in its own inimitable way, showed all of us that we have a long way to go before we can consider ourselves whole and complete as human beings.
I thoroughly enjoyed being among the flock at ILLUMNINATION. All the wonderful writers and editors who have poured their respective hearts out in an effort to stay calm and carry on. Not singing and being witty while Rome fell, but creating a soundtrack and script for a whole new “Rome.”
A place where people listen because it’s the right thing to do. Where words are respected and applauded for the value they bring to life. And for the constant remedial efforts all those editors made to create a safe space; a soft-landing spot for the tired and disillusioned to rest and recuperate, until they were ready to carry on.
I made many new friends this year. People from around the globe who embraced me and my words and my feelings and made me welcome. Never in my life have I been so thoroughly supported by the spirit of love and hope and future.
I will name many of you right here — I know I will leave some out, but know you are all important to me and I thank you all for making 2020 — one of those odd, inconsistent, OMFG when-will-it-end, kind of years that we see enacted on television or in the movies and hope to God, it never happens to us. Well, it did and we’re getting through it.
Here’s to a wholly dissimilar 2021. A year filled with all the things that were left out of 2020. Peace and clarity. Understanding and justice. Equality and forward thinking.
And to all of those who sought to take advantage of 2020 and use the chaos, heartache and confusion for personal gain — may you forever be late to your meetings. May all your trains and planes be early and leave without you. May your identity be stolen and used to fund charitable organizations around the world. And lastly, may every misdeed, every inequitable thought and unkind act, instantly appear on YouTube for the world to see.
To the rest of us, especially my editor friends and fellow writers on ILLUMINATION.
Dr Mehmet Yildiz Paul Myers MBA George J. Ziogas Desiree Driesenaar Karen Madej Sherry McGuinn Rasheed Hooda P.G. Barnett Tree Langdon Dew Langrial Trista Ainsworth Arthur G. Hernandez Michele Till Amy Marley Selma Gurpreet Dhariwal Geetika Sethi Liam Ireland Britni Pepper The Maverick Files Dipti Pande Kevin Buddaeus Tony Young, Jr. CR Mandler MAT EP McKnight, MEd James Knight Salvatore Cagliari Caroline de Braganza Kathryn A. LeRoy, Ph.D. Art Bram janny’s heart Adelia Ritchie Ryan DeJonghe Haimish Mead Dr Michael Heng Bill Abbate Aurora Eliam, CMP Maria Rattray Agnes Laurens Brian E. Wish, PhD Linda Caroll Carol Price Michael Patanella Harley King Tim Maudlin Stuart Englander Dr John Rose Sumera Rizwan Ntathu Allen Earnest Painter Alison Tennent Jith Charles H. Roast Annelise Lords Lanu Pitan Terry Mansfield Robert Trakofler Marlane Ainsworth Tom Byers