Archived Story

Kat Barry: Goodwill ends cycle of violence

Published 1:57pm Friday, December 21, 2012

Kat’s Hot Talk

By Kat Barry

My plan for this week was to write about creative holiday gifts you can make in your kitchen, and ways to put a personal touch on your wrapping. These gifts might not cost a ton of money, but love, energy and joy go into them. However, when I sat down to write, the words just weren’t coming.

In light of the recent shootings  in Oregon, Connecticut and Chicago, that topic seemed frivolous.

These horrific acts of violence would chill our hearts any time of year, but, at Christmas, tragedies seem to strike an even louder chord.  As a believer in peace, love and tolerance I could not, in good conscience, go forward as if chocolate nut bark really matters.  Giving things to one another once a year means nothing if we aren’t spreading love to the world around us.

When I was trying to think about the true meaning of Christmas juxtaposed against the backdrop of this horrifically violent American December, all I could think about were the banners that hung in my childhood church during Advent. These brightly colored medieval-style placards made proclamations such as, “Rejoice!” “Joy to the World!” “Peace on Earth.”

Whether you’re religious or not, the story of Christmas is one of hope and miracles. It tells the tale of a newborn child, a savior, arriving in a tumultuous time. The world was going to be a better place, and it was a joyous occasion.

There has been horrific violence and injustice on this earth since before Jesus was born. This doesn’t mean we should just give up hope and chalk it up to the way of the world. Rather, we can fight violence and hatred with peace, love and hope for a better day.

I believe in my heart that we are supposed to love one another and be kind. We see this belief in spiritual practices all over the world. One of my favorite yogic principles is the practice of Ahimsa, or nonviolence. This is supposed to be observed towards all others and yourself, difficult though it may sometimes be. Then there is the Buddhist philosophy of karma. What goes around comes around, if you will. And next thing you know, we’re right back at the Golden Rule of, “Do unto others as they would do onto  you.”

When our hearts are broken, it can be easy for sadness and grief to give way to anger. But that will only breed more hostility, and the vicious cycle of hatred continues. On the other hand, nonviolence and goodwill bring you more of the same.

The coming of Jesus brought hope on the first Christmas, and I am not ready to give up on the hope.

We can be a joyous and flourishing nation. Maybe if we all try a little harder this season, and in the coming year, to think love and understanding before defense and protection we will impact each other exponentially and peace will prosper.

At least that’s what I’m wishing for this Christmas.

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