Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Republican Kansas State Treasurer: Remember the reason for the season …

Remember the Reason for the Season

State Treasurer Jenkins Urges Kansans to Give from the Heart, not the Pocketbook.

December 2005 - Monthly Column

I know I've done it. A child, family member or friend has told me about a particular item they've been dreaming about for months, but haven't bought for themselves because it was "just too expensive." It's the holiday season and I want them to be happy by receiving exactly what they want, so I buy it, even though it IS very expensive and it was much more than what I had budgeted.

The holiday season is about giving thanks, family, good will towards your fellow men, and unfortunately, going into the poor house.
Bring forth the dogs of war! The holiday season is about the miraculous persistence of one day's worth of oil for eight whole days, not petty baubles.

Yes, friendship and family companionship while spinning a dreidl are important, as are gifts around the menorah, but let's not forget why we light candles for 8 days.

We light candles in this season because we are celebrating the victory of King Rama over the demon Ravana or maybe Satyabhama's victory over Narakasura, and as people lit the king's path back from the battle, we celebrate by bringing light back to our houses and begin our affairs anew.

If not candles, perhaps we light fireworks to celebrate the end of Ramadan, a month-long fast, and the Prophet's victory over his enemies at the battle of Badr.

Or we don our dashikis to celebrate the seven principles of Blackness: Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity), and Imani (faith).


Whether we're celebrating Jesus' birth, the miracle of Hanukkah, the lights of Diwali, moral victory and peace at Eid, or our African heritage at Kwanzaa, we're celebrating faith. Not just Christian faith, nor just Jewish, Muslim, or Hindu faith. When we celebrate the new year, we celebrate new beginnings, which take a special kind of faith, the faith that what went wrong in the old year can be fixed. That's exactly the spirit that motivated people fighting a critical battle that was wrested from the teeth of failure, the ones who tended the eternal flame as a cask of oil lasted until more oil arrived, and people who were brought to this country as slaves, who, when freed, labored under oppressive laws, but still struggled on, aiming for something better.

Happy Holidays.