Keep Christmas spirit going year-round

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 December, 2007, 12:00am

Christmas is a special time. It is a Christian festival, but one that has transcended religion and is now enjoyed by people of all beliefs. The values that the occasion has come to encompass - the spirit of peace, goodwill, compassion, giving and spending time with loved ones - go to the very core of societies the world over. They are beliefs that we should embrace, no matter what our background, nationality, race or creed. They are the reasons we should all join together and celebrate at this time.

Losing sight of the meaning of the season can be easy, with modern life full of so many distractions. Heavy commercialism blinds us into believing that Christmas is less a time for worthy matters and more for buying expensive presents. The holiday season and party atmosphere, complete with - for many - plenty of food and drink, lead us to kick up our heels and take a welcome opportunity to forget about life in the pressure-cooker of Hong Kong.

There is nothing wrong with putting work to one side and pampering ourselves and our friends. 'Tis the season to be jolly, after all. But while we are indulging, we should not lose sight of the need to care for those less fortunate. Time has to be found for our families, who too often play second fiddle to our job commitments. Sensitivity must be felt and tolerance shown towards the ways and beliefs of other people and their faiths.

These are not just ideals, they are matters that we have to do our utmost to attain. We may not always have the means or time, but through doing what we can, our lives and those around us can be improved.

Christmas is not the only time of year to think of such matters. There is always room for peace, compassion, charity, goodwill and finding time for family and friends. However, there is no better time to be reminded about what we should be doing and may have forgotten during the year. Living by such principles is in our own interests, and those of Hong Kong, China and the wider world.