This is a season for peace.
It’s not about the birth of the vulnerable infant savior or the miracle of light. Climate and darkness commands all boreal people to hunker down and slumber, to close their eyes for a moment and accept their frailty as they seek comfort in family and friends. This is the time of year when all are equal in the search for warmth, for love, for companionship, for peace.
But we do not live in a time made for this season. There is conflict everywhere, as those with the means to close their eyes in security feel a need to secure their safety before they can rest easily. Those in pain lie down in the cold and wonder jealously what it would be like to fell such peace in the few dark moments they have of rest.
The United States is not that different from much of the world today. The fruits of the world coming together as never before come unevenly. Some have much, some have little. Much of the world has a more full belly than their parents before them, and yet it is never enough. Some feel that they are falling behind and feel more pain as the dark and cold bite harder than ever.
That is the nature of the conflict in this time of peace.
It’s not as though the world isn’t going to come to peace eventually. The hot fires of conflict necessarily burn themselves out after some period of time. Those without either exact revenge or tire of the conflict. Those with grow tired of defending what they grow to learn is not the fruit of their own talent but the fortune of being at the right place at the right time.
In this, the richest nation every imagined, there is an attempt to codify into black words on a white page the rituals of wealth. They are secured in a code which outlines social and legal obligations to a greater world, now set to specify that luck and connections have nothing to do with it. In this plan there is only wealth, there is little obligation which comes with it.
It sets up the conflicts of tomorrow in jealous pursuit of previously unknown material largess.
There will be conflict in the wake of this. There will be a movement of people who say that this is not what a great nation can or should do. But in the darkness of the season this statement is soaring through and creating a greater pool of conflict yet to come. It starts with the dreams of darkness, from those sleeping warm with some gifts and those sleeping cold without.
It will have its defenders who say it is the nature of the world. They will say that wealth flows from those with to those without in some kind of plan.
But there are no plans. There is only conflict currently dormant in the cold and dark of the moment. It will come hotter in another season when the light is shown on the reality of the great gifts of this world, the great wealth of coming together as never before. The coming conflict will be betrayed in thousands of conversations between strangers who do not know each other outside of words too hot for the season.
As surely as the northern part of the planet is now turning towards the light and heat it will all come to conflict. It is likely to be a cold conflict of resolution and action, not words. That’s not to say that the words defending a politics of division and materialism and jealousy won’t still burn hot. It’s to say that for all the fire they will move little and be wasted with terrific thermal inefficiency.
This is not a season for conflict. But conflict is with us this year. It is between those who count their blessings and those who cannot. It is between those in pain and those in power. It is between greed and good, between extravagance and obligation.
Peace to everyone this season, and may the conflicts of our times be resolved in the only way they can be soon.