Of eggnog, Wiis and tradition

The holidays are a time of eggnog, family, snowflakes and $70 Wii systems from Circuit City. We get to see old friends, share old laughs and get into that same old fight about who’s going to make the gravy for Christmas dinner. We seek tradition – be it the those heinous tree ornaments your family insists on hanging every year, the embarrassingly large Jesus manger your dad sets up for all the neighbors to see, or the same knitted sweater your grandmother gives you every year in a different color.Tradition is everywhere around the holidays. But the holidays should be a time of looking forward as much as looking back. And it’s not about Christmas, or Hannukah, or Kwanza or Chrismahakwanzika, or whatever politically correct term that airhead OC character coined. To look forward to the coming year, some of us attempt to set New Years resolutions for ourselves. Some stick; the majority don’t. What if this year, instead of promising to never eat another carb, we all promised to be better. To improve the world around us. To literally get up, stand up, fight for our rights, clear the skies, end war, end social inequality, educate the masses and provide clean water to everyone regardless of their ability to pay. Sure, those of you non-hippies will shake your heads. But really, what if the entire world promised to be better? Or what if just you did?We all know that every long journey starts with a single step. And that being “better” is hard – what does “better” even mean? Better than my roommate, better than other people, better than a really bad person? Better at what?It’s clear that the term “better” means something different for every person. I’d challenge everyone reading this article to define what being “better” means to them, and then to act on it. And at least to me, it’s also clear that being “better” doesn’t mean physically feeding every hungry child or putting a roof over every homeless person. I mean, organize a nude protest in favor of a liveable wage if that’s your thing; if not, maybe shortening your shower time or volunteering for a few hours at a retirement home is more appealing. My guess? If we all pledge to be “better” – even if in some really small way – that we can tackle current global problems. You see, besides tradition and Wiis and eggnog, the holidays are about faith.