A Buddhist Christmas

Wikipedia defines Christmas as a worldwide holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. Popular aspects of the holiday include decorations, emphasis on family togetherness, and gift giving. Designated a federal holiday by Congress and President Ulysses S. Grant in 1870.
But as a student of the Buddha’s teachings (dhamma), I have come to view this Holiday as much more encompassing and relevant.
Now one could be offended, thinking that nothing could be more relevant than the birth of Jesus. But if one is not of the Christian faith, then any non-Christian is instantly excluded.
And from what I know of the teachings of Jesus, he was an “includer”, not an “excluder”. Regardless of your background, rich or poor, sick or healthy, even if you were a prostitute, his love and compassion were equally shared with all. And this too was the teaching of the Buddha. Inclusivity, not exclusivity or superiority.

But what of others who are not Christian or Buddhist? What about Islamic, Hindu, Jewish, and Atheist etc.?
I see this holiday to be as much about each of them as anyone. My love, compassion, acceptance and generosity is intended for all beings. I see no higher value in any being above another. We all breathe, feel, suffer and experience joy. We all share impermanence, and I am so grateful that we are Brothers and Sisters in this life.

Perhaps Christmas is more about being reminded of our connection to one another. We are not as different as many of us seem to think. We are loving and caring human beings that have a compassionate nature within us. Call it Buddha nature, the Holy Spirit, or just a nature of goodness. We all possess this quality and only need to see that Christmas reminds us to love one another.

May this Holiday season be filled with love, laughter and joy for you and your loved ones. May you open your heart to your enemies, may you help those in need, may you be fully aware of the World around you and see the powerful connection we all share with one another.

Joy to the World.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.