The Christmas season can serve to remind us of the importance of believing in that which we may not be able to prove.
We are asked to believe all sorts of things at this time of year, from stories about a few wise guys traveling great distances to see a savior born in a stable, to flying caribou, to fat guys squeezing down chimneys and delivering gifts to the kiddies. There are even stories about talking snowmen.
For the most part, we embrace these stories, and anyone who does not is labeled a Scrooge or a Grinch, after some notable characters who (at least at first) failed to enter into the Christmas spirit.
If we are to believe the literature and the wealth of Christmas movies that appear each December, just about anything is possible if we really believe.
Great things, we are told, can be accomplished through the application of Christmas magic.
However, we should remember that believing is important throughout the year.
Many of the great advances in fields such as science, geography, and medicine involved discoveries or developments that were once considered impossible.
It took people who believed in what they were doing to move all of us forward.
Often, these pioneers made the leap of faith at tremendous personal expense. They were frequently subjected to derision and abuse by those who did not believe.
Unfortunately, it seems that we haven’t learned much from history. People still don’t like change, they don’t like new ideas, and they don’t like the people who champion those ideas.
It is not only the big ideas that require us to believe. It can be as simple as believing in another person, or even in ourselves.
We may be asked to believe someone, be it a stranger or a member of our own family, even when all of the evidence seems to be against him.
It is at times like this when it is most important to have faith. Not faith in the religious sense, but faith in something even when what we see or hear contradicts it.
We also need to believe in ourselves. That sounds simple, but it can be the hardest thing some of us ever have to do.
There are times when we are placed in a situation outside of our comfort zone, and we are confronted by a new set of circumstances.
This might happen when we or a family member are victims of an illness or injury. It can happen when we lose a loved one. It can even happen when we find ourselves unexpectedly faced with a drastically different economic situation, as many people have recently experienced after losing their jobs.
It is during these times that we learn the most about ourselves, and it is at these times that we most need faith.
This means different things to different people, but at the end of the day, we need to believe that we are capable of doing things we never thought possible, and if we keep that in mind, and if we keep believing, amazing things can happen.
We humans are much more resilient than we sometimes imagine. There is much truth in the adage “that which does not kill us will make us stronger.”
We should learn from the past, and realize the importance of keeping an open mind.
The world seems like a dangerous and frightening place sometimes, but perhaps it has always been that way.
There are some difficult challenges facing our world, our country, and our state today. There are some pretty serious challenges facing many of us as individuals, as well.
The only way we are going to overcome these challenges is to keep an open mind and believe in what is possible.
We cannot continue to do the same things and expect different results. Many of these problems, large or small, will require a fresh approach and new ideas. Closing our minds or digging our heels in and adopting a rigid attitude will not solve anything.
Believing does not have to mean believing in one position at the exclusion of all other possibilities.
This is not a time for arguing over which partisan group is better than another. It is a time for being open to the best ideas from all sources, even the most unexpected sources, and finding the best solutions.
These problems were not created overnight, and we must be patient and realize that it may take a series of small steps, rather than one big idea, to solve them.
We must also bear in mind that governments have never solved anything. Only people, working with other people, can bring about real change.
Most of all, we must continue to believe in ourselves and those around us. The magic in “ordinary” people is frequently harder to see than the magic in flying reindeer and jolly old elves with white beards, but it is there. We just need to look for it.
If we can do that, it is just possible that we will experience some magic of our own, not just at Christmas, but throughout the year.