One of the greatest messages of Christmas is that there is no reason whatsoever to feel lonely to isolated or out of sync with the rest of the world, no matter what you look like, what you do for a living, or where you came from. This gives me great peace. This is because our spirits are colorless and all the same, and we are all one in Jesus Christ.

Whether you believe in Him or not, He came to proclaim that unity is for all human beings. He came to point out how we all want the same things and we all need each other so very much.

Now, I have friends this Christmas who point to the recent political season with despair. They claim that our country has never been so divided, that racism and anti-Semitism are on the rise, and that the intrusive technology that is distracting so very many people, especially the young, is isolating us in a dangerous way, stripping us of our humanity and compassion.

On the other hand, I have friends who claim that people of color and people from non-Western Civ backgrounds and belief systems have never been so powerful and prominent in any society in the world as they are in America today. They say that technology is bringing us a new understanding and a global village in a unifying way that is healthy and hopeful.

I come down somewhere in between. But this snapshot from 2016 from a dear friend of mine is tilting me a little bit more toward the more positive viewpoint:

Her daughter is a recent graduate school graduate in a state far away from her parents and college friends. She is young, white, skinny, athletic, well-dressed, very intelligent, and being flown free to distant cities for job interviews.

The story behind that happy story is that she was realizing that she would have to be separated from her boyfriend, perhaps by 1,000 miles, in a city where she knew no one. All the changes she anticipated coming with moving and starting a new life halfway across the country were overwhelming. So while it was exciting to be starting adult life with such great prospects, she was also kind of sad and scared.

He took her to the airport for her flight. They kissed at the security gate, then parted. She had a few minutes before her plane started boarding. So she went into the restroom.

In the stall, her emotions swirled around her. She tried very hard to keep herself together, but it was tough. She came out to wash her hands. In the mirror, she saw an old, overweight, not-very-well-dressed, and very dark-skinned lady kind of shuffle over to the other sink.

Their eyes met in the mirror. The young woman’s face was pinched. The older woman’s eyebrows raised.

As they both dried their hands, the older woman approached the younger one, leaned in, and said: “You look like you could use a hug.”

The younger one nodded, threw her arms around this stranger, and started to sob. Right there in the airport restroom, she melted into the stranger’s arms, and had an emotional meltdown.

The older black woman patted her back. “There, there,” she murmured. “It will be all right.” The younger white woman sniffled, and kind of laughed. They shared a warm smile, and parted, each feeling a little better after the chance encounter.

That hug was worth a million words of protest speeches. That hug was worth a zillion TV interviews, letters to the editor, and soapbox rants.

That hug was Christmas — the unity of it — the beauty of it — the compassion of it — the spirit of it.

That hug was love.

Don’t let any Grinch tell you that people don’t care any more, or that your opinion of other people and how you conduct yourself has to be restricted to just what political leaders of your same skin color and background might declare.

Go out there and love one another . . . and make it Christmas everywhere you go, even in the airport bathroom.


By Susan Darst Williams  | Ÿ  |  © 2016