BOSTON (CBS) — It’s Christmas eve, a day and night of celebration and anticipation for Christians all over the world. And for those of us lucky enough to live in a place that isn’t torn apart by violence or devastated by poverty or religious oppression, it’s a moment to reflect on the notion of, as the song goes, “peace on earth, and goodwill toward men.”
Does that mean more than the often-fleeting sense of connection with and kindness toward our fellow humans that we call the Christmas spirit?
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Let’s set aside the notion of peace on earth for a moment, that’s a tough one, and maybe goodwill toward men has to be more developed before we can even talk about it.
So, how might that goodwill manifest itself in the new year?
Here are a few suggestions to get you thinking:
* We could start with an end to anonymous sniping on the internet. The anger and vulgarity that comes pouring through the comments section of many websites is humanity at its worst. If only we all could learn to use the “delete” key instead of “send,” goodwill might have a fighting chance.
* We voters could start putting our votes where our rhetoric is and refuse to vote for political candidates who resort to harsh personal attacks. Vigorous debate on issues, fine; smears, innuendo and slander, not fine.
* We might spread goodwill by saving the hero worship we devote to untalented celebrities and egomaniacal athletes and devoting it instead to the likes of that homeless veteran who turned in the wallet full of cash. If we as a culture celebrated virtue, intelligence, and caring instead of wealth and fame, we might start to see more evidence of values we can be proud of. And the next thing you know, goodwill toward men and the peace on earth it might one day bring could become more than just a blip on the December radar.