Daily Archives: December 24, 2009

A Christmas Message from my Parents by Gregory Hilton

The true spirit of this season reflects a dedication to helping those in need, giving hope to those in despair, and spreading understanding throughout the Earth. As we enjoy the traditions of this holiday, I am sure you share my gratitude for the men and women in the military who are working to defend freedom, and advancing peace and safety around the world.
The vast majority of my friends and associates are politically active. They represent a wide range of views on our political spectrum, and they all have good intentions. As Theodore Roosevelt said, the credit for our progress belongs to people in the political arena – “who know great enthusiasms and devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
No matter where we are on the political spectrum, we all want to make this world a better place. We are doing what we can to effect change. To lift one another up and to bring a better life for all. This is a central message in all religions.
Christ said, “Love one another as I have loved you.” St. Francis of Assisi told us “For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.” In caring for one another we find purpose in life. When we stand for freedom, human rights and those who are less fortunate, we are fighting for each other.
My parents have passed away but at Christmas I am always reminded of some of our family traditions. I still remember my mother reading and explaining “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. Her message was neither unique nor especially profound, and I was just 6 years old when she read it the first time. She felt it was important for a small child to understand why Ebenezer Scrooge was so unhappy. He had everything as far as material wealth was concerned, but he had been miserable for decades.
There are many people today who have an outlook similar to Ebenezer. They believe happiness comes from material possessions. They are delaying their happiness until they have a new house, car, job or the improved version of some product. My mother said Ebenezer Scrooge was unhappy not because of a failure to get but to give, and she wanted me to know this was the most important message of Christmas.
My parents were instrumental to the happiness of the first half of my life, but they will not know the second half. Their lesson was to find happiness by looking around you. What are your opportunities to give with joy? This is your best chance to find happiness at midlife.
May you always keep fighting the good fight.
“Peace on Earth, and Goodwill Toward Men.” (Luke 2:14)