Once again, it’s that time of year. Time to dust off the red suit, polish the boots, clean the glasses and get ready to sit upon the golden throne. I’m talking about Christmas, of course. I play Santa.
My old friend, Filoman Farquart, was over last night and we were belting a few beers while I sewed some Velcro onto the suit’s collar. “Merlin, you superannuated old goat”, he said as I worked the thread, “You’re all spavined up. How can you do that Santa thing year-after-year?”
“It’s a noble calling, Filoman.” I replied. “Besides, there’s something about this time of year that, seems to bring out the best in people — at least in most people, anyway, and I enjoy seeing that”.
“Rubbish,” said Filoman, “People as just as churlish and mean-spirited on the 25th of December as they are on the 4th of July”.
“Not really,” I said. “In fact, last year a gent even older than me maintained the Golden Rule was practiced at this time of year more than any other. He said if you got a flat tire on a warm, languorous summer evening, there isn’t a soul in a hundred mile that’ll stop to help. Ah, but if you get a flat tire on a nasty, sub-zero night with a biting wind, someone’ll stop to help within five minutes. And like as not, that someone’ll tell you to go sit in his nice warm car while he finishes-up.
And what he said is true, Filoman, I’ve seen more random acts of kindness in the month of December than any other time of year. Something about this time of year brings out the good nature lurking in us all”.
“In all of us, huh”, Filoman snorted.
Hoping to soften my friend’s crusty heart, I went on the internet and Googled “the golden rule”. Perhaps I could find some supporting evidence of my assertion, and rub Filoman’s nose in it. I found the following things and they appear in many, many websites:
Bahá’í Faith: Blessed is he who preferreth his brother before himself.
Buddhism: Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.
Confucianism: Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself.
Christianity: Do to others what you want them to do to you. This is the meaning of the law of Moses and the teaching of the prophets.
Hinduism: That which is unfavorable to us, do not do that to others.
Humanist: Don’t do things you wouldn’t want to have done to you.
Islam: None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.
Jainism: Just as pain is not agreeable to you, it is so with others.
Judaism: Love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.
Mohism: For one would do for others as one would do for oneself.
Native American: All things are our relatives; what we do to everything, we do to ourselves. All is really One.
Scientology: Cause only those things which others are able to experience easily.
Sikhism: Treat others as you would be treated yourself.
Taoism: Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.
The Way to Happiness: Try not to do things to others that you would not like them to do to you
Wiccan: I command thee thus, O children of the Earth, that which ye deem harmful unto thyself, the very same shall ye be forbidden from doing unto another.
Zoroastrianism: That nature alone is good which refrains from doing to others whatsoever is not good for itself.
Googling further, I found that all these faiths — and many other faiths too numerous to quote — have at least one major celebration on-or-near the Winter Solstice, which is 21 December. Perhaps the juxtapositions of these major holidays and core philosophies is why, at this time of year, people seem so nice. And to answer Filoman’s question as to why I play Santa, it’s so I get a chance to see all this niceness firsthand. Well, time to go to the store and see if I can find a nice, plump goose for Jo to stick in the freezer.
And a nice bottle of booze for my old buddy Filoman.