As every year, Christmas is coming. You can feel it everywhere around you: Christmas lights decorating the main streets of cities and towns, traditional songs playing in many radio stations, families making Christmas trees and putting decorations on their doors and balconies, people rushing to buy gifts, and stores plenty of special offers. In other words, a magic atmosphere surrounds our daily life during this special period of the year.
However, Christmas is definitely a proper occasion to stress an aspect that many people seem to have forgotten: the need for solidarity. Our daily life is characterized by a very busy schedule and too often we believe we have problems and difficulties that can never be solved. The society wants us to be productive and effective: we cannot afford to waste our precious time. Thus, we are forced to work as hard as if we were components of a cog which keeps moving and moving every day. As a main consequence, we remain too focused on our own life that we completely forget about the existence of other people around us. Our societies suffer from a growing individualism which is the main cause of the lack of solidarity that we face nowadays. But what is exactly solidarity and why is it so important?
In Our Global Family, Dalai Lama explains this concept in the most effective way: we might have different colors of skin, speak different languages, wear different clothes and also believe in different Gods or superior entities. Yet at the end we are all human beings and we belong to the same human family. We feel happiness or sadness, we cry or laugh, we simply have the same feelings and emotions. For these reasons, we should try to develop a deeper sense of brotherhood which could help us to overcome differences and limits and seek the common good all together, the Truth to which Gandhi refers. We should, therefore, perceive other people as our own brothers and sisters, part of our own family and care about them as we do with our siblings. Moreover, having a sense of solidarity is important for another reason that we only rarely consider. When there is lack of solidarity in a country or in a society, the effects are felt throughout the world.
Nowadays, in fact, nations are intertwined and linked more than ever before. They are exactly in the same situation of the members of a family: they all depend on each other and they all bear the consequences of what happens to one of them in both positive and negative ways. Solidarity, then, does not have a specific and detailed definition but it can be described as a positive act of a person towards another person or group of people based only on unconditional generosity and sense of humanity.
It is fundamental, therefore, to dedicate part of our time to those who are seeking for our help. They can be strangers, poor or marginalized people, but also our own friends or someone we already know. As long as we are moved by a spontaneous sense of humanity, we are acting in the spirit of solidarity. It is not necessary pretending to be heroes and trying to solve irreparable circumstances: solidarity requires simplicity and concreteness.
From this perspective, Christmas represents a unique occasion to act in solidarity. Regardless of religious beliefs and belonging, we can all give our contribution and be active in different useful ways. This is not to say that we need solidarity only during this period of the year and there is no place for it in other circumstances and occasions. There is always the necessity to play an active role and to take part in solidarity initiatives. However, Christmas is an opportunity not to be missed to show that the sense of humanity mentioned by Dalai Lama is still alive in our society.
It could be a single drop in a boundless ocean but it allows us to be part of a group of drops that, eventually, can turn to a storm and can affect and change the flow of the ocean!