It is tempting at this time of year to pull up the story file from 2017, open the editorial written for the Christmas edition and simply rerun it in this space a year later.
After all, the sentiment of last year’s missive is sadly not any different 365 days later.
It was a year ago it was noted editors at newspapers around the world sit down at this time of year to pen their editorials and thoughts turn to the concept of peace on earth and good will to man. It suggested the idea of true world peace was perhaps the noblest vision of what we as humankind should aspire, yet somehow year after year the simple concepts gets “lost amid wars and mass shootings, muggings, assaults and sadly dozens of other ways we find to impart violence on one another as a species.”
The editorial noted “there has not been a time in our history where a war has not been ongoing somewhere on our planet, where men and women armed with rifles, handguns and grenades sit prepared to shoot at other human beings at the command of one side or the other,” and a year later the situation has not changed at all.
The idea of peace on earth was then, sadly something we had not managed to achieve, and we are frankly no closer to making it a reality now.
We can get bogged down in endless social media debates about whether it is an affront to the season to say happy holidays, rather than Merry Christmas even if Christmas is a Christian holiday and in a diverse society that has worked hard to ensure religious tolerance many are not of Christian faiths.
We can end up arguing over the language of a song such as ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’. Lyrics are funny things since words can be interpreted in many ways, and the back story of a song is hard to fully understand when looking at something written in 1944 from the perspective of the realities of 2018.
While it is important we grow and adapt as a society, we can get bogged down in the minutiae and flotsam that clutters the Internet, we seem incapable of dealing with the big picture things this season encourages us to tackle each and every December.
The lyrics “of peace on earth goodwill to men” are so simple in the way they offer a vision of a better world for us all. But, we are more apt to get hung up on the use of the word men in a song written in 1863, rather than focusing on how incredible it would be to achieve what the line suggests.
‘I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day’ has been sung every December for 155-years and we have achieved peace on earth or goodwill to all. It is not likely this editorial will make a difference in seeing it happen in the months ahead, but that does not mean we should give up on the idea because if achieved it will be the greatest gift our world has ever seen.