The On Being Project

Let This Season Be a Reminder to Keep Your Heart Open

As I celebrate Christmas with my family, I think about the fact that the early Quakers — my 17th-century spiritual ancestors — refused to set aside December 25 as a special day.

They feared that doing so would lead them to forget that every day is holy — that peace and justice are moral imperatives all year long — that hope is always ready to be born into our hearts — that we are never free to ignore the needs of the least among us.

I celebrate Christmas with joy — but those early Quakers had a point. For example, in this affluent nation, 20 percent of our kids live at risk of hunger. That’s 16 million youngsters under the age of 18, an intolerable fact.

Because of the good will that abounds among us on December 25, some of those kids will get a good meal on Christmas Day. But on the day after that, and the day after that, and all the days after that, hunger returns…

Memo to self: Celebrate Christmas with a full heart on December 25. But understand that you’re celebrating an endless calling, and keep your heart open to the world’s needs 365 days a year.

Whatever holiday you celebrate during the month of December — and there are many — the blessings of this season to you and yours!

P.S. If childhood hunger is one of our national tragedies that concerns you, I’m sure you have ways of trying to help out. For whatever it’s worth, one organization I support is run by folks I know and trust who do great work: No Kid Hungry (Share Our Strength).


Share Your Reflection