OUR VIEW: Merry Christmas to all

Whether one is a Catholic or Baptist, Muslim or Jew, Hindu or Jain, the basic story of Christmas bears beauty and touches the human core. Its iconic base transcends dogma and specifics of creed, and rather touches us at the spiritual fingers that join us to the rest of the great human family.

A man and woman – she with child – seek shelter as the child’s time has come. While the child would later be exalted by believers as a king of kings, his name spoken with reverence for millennia after his birth, his entry into the world was to be in a barn, beside the sheltered beasts, because there was no place else other than an open field.

The travelers later moved on because of a great persecution that was to occur. The stories continue from there. The diverse beliefs that accept or reject its final conclusions among Christian faithful are not needful of eliminating those basics, and it harms nobody.

It is something, for someone who might have nothing else, to cling to and celebrate during this beautiful Christmas season.

The legend of Christmas gives birth to two important messages that we see and hear throughout this season. “Peace on earth.” “Good will to men.”

For 2,000 years we have spoken of this peace, but there is no peace. Just this past week innocents died in Aleppo, in Syria, not so far from the region where the Christ child was born. Children were trapped under crumbled buildings. Gunshots rang out. Arrogant leading nations waged their proxy warfare while we argued here in Louisiana, here in the bayou region, over the petty matter of election results and who remains right and who remains wrong.

For much of this past year newsprint has been squandered locally on stories of scandal, such as the allegations raised by the Web site ExposeDat, and the harsh reactions of powerful men to mere words that resulted in the seizing of property to prove a point.

And so on either side of that debate there is little that appears reminiscent of good will. Just ego and muscle flexing of men and women in a non-stop game of one-upmanship.

Hardly good will at all. And nothing that can lead to peace, or clarity, or better service to the public.

We love talking the talk during this Christmas season but how many of us truly walk the walk? Peace in Aleppo cannot be had without peace in Houma or in Mathews, in Thibodaux or in Theriot. Our anger and fear over tough economic times win out over concerted community efforts to find a better way. We label ourselves and each other. We place political party over national good and more recently, in small ways, above local good.

But there is good, nonetheless. There is good in these pages today, such as the story about Constance Johnson of the Thibodaux City Council, and the many who helped her including members of that city’s police department, in handing out gifts and goods to many who need them in that community. In Houma, City Councilwoman Arlanda Williams brought sunshine to the Louis Infant Crisis Center, where children whose lives have been marked by tragedies small to large got respite from the spiritual cold of a cruel world, thanks to the warmth of love from strangers.

There are countless other acts of kindness, some of which we have written about, some of which haven’t had space to write about. But they have occurred nonetheless.

Each of these acts of kindness serve to elevate us into a better spiritual place. We are elevated from the giving and we are elevated from the knowledge of the giving.

And so the ability to share these stories, even in brief, becomes recognized as a gift, too.

We wish everyone a merry Christmas, and the hope that whatever good, positive thing has made this 2016 Christmas work for you can be magnified in your heart and shared with everyone you know. Because peace on earth begins at one’s own doorstep, and the good will to, from and by men and women which follows begins there too. And just maybe these stories of light that we have told this season, by proving there is good, can help to sow more. •