How to Recapture the True Spirit of Christmas in a Toxic Age

by John W. Whitehead / December 22nd, 2017

I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus. Christmas is coming, but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel.

―  Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Christmas

I keep waiting to encounter the “kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant” Christmas-time environment that Charles Dickens describes in A Christmas Carol: “when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.”

Instead, every time I read a news headline or flip on the television or open up an email, I run headlong into people consumed with back-biting, partisan politics, sniping, toxic hate, meanness, unfriending and materialism.

How is it that despite all of the blessings and advantages we in the United States possess, as a nation we continue to major in minors, prioritizing politics and profit margins over decency and human-kindness?

We’ve been operating in this topsy-turvy, inside-out, upside-down state of being for too long now, but the absence of goodwill, charity and human kindness is especially apparent now, with Christmas just around the corner when, as Charles Dickens notes, “Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices.”

For instance, Americans spent an estimated $6.9 billion dollars on federal elections in 2016. And what do we have to show for it?…

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