The world is made up of all different cultures which then allows for all aspects of religion and purpose in life to each person as an individual. So while this is not approached to define the meaning of my life personally I believe defining what the purpose of life is to be a very personal thing. It truly depends on how you view the world, the experience which has brought you to how you view the world and an individual’s background with those who have influenced your own personal insight into the events and interaction that goes on around you.
I was brought up in a Christian household and therefore I do believe in there being a greater power and a greater place than the land we live on. Until our lives intersect with a complete stranger, they remain a complete stranger, but this is where I feel the meaning of life takes its’ roots. Allow me to explain. Everyone has those around them who they know from birth, the families we are born into. From birth it is a choice of a person’s parents as to the environment they create for that individual and the people they choose to bring into their life.
I believe that even at this early stage we as individuals are being influenced and our personalities are developing. The ultimate goal obviously should be to create a good, humane, and decent individual. In my instance, most of the people I was surrounded by were Christians and yes, occasionally someone with ill intentions would present themselves as someone with good intentions to either further themselves or obtain something they wanted. For the most part however, I saw people with good intentions in my upbringing, I was taught to help others and see people for who they truly are.
Ultimately, I was raised to see the good in people as individuals and to believe that within themselves they could find the good they possess if they truly wanted to. There are those who get lost in life and end up on the wrong path, there are those to whom unexplainable and painful things happen, there are those who believe they have been given reason to not believe in the good in others, and there are those who simply give up hope and faith in the greater good.
I believe what defines us as Christians and what defines us as humankind is how we fit into that statement and how we prove opposite to those who have given up hope, who don’t have a belief system, those that are disadvantaged, and those perfect strangers who we are able to show a small glimmer of hope to. I believe even the smallest of actions can change the outlook of those you choose to involve yourself with. Sometimes an act from a total stranger or even someone that a person feels doesn’t truly care about them personally can make an impact. This time of year is especially a time where those who are influenced and those who can influence can make exactly this type of impact.
Christmas means many things to many people and as a Christian I believe that of all the times of year this should be a time when people have the most hope and the most faith in something greater. For many people though this time is hard for one reason or another, maybe they lost a loved one around this time of year, maybe they have forgotten what the season truly represents, or maybe they simply don’t have the financial ability to make the mystical idea of Santa a reality for their children.
I think though that this is a time of year when we as humankind have that opportunity to step outside of that stranger category and become someone important; someone who brings hope into another’s life. This is an instance where I feel the meaning of life can truly be defined in the actions of others. It’s a time when people care about humankind in general and their hope and not just because they are a family member or a friend or colleague. There are many people, even living right next door to us, who become “Santa” for those in need or become that hope for those who have lost it around the holidays.
My son is 12 and therefore stopped believing in the figure of “Santa” a couple years ago. However, I remind him every year that Santa DOES in fact exist and that if he chooses not to believe in “Santa”, there will be no gifts. It may seem a little harsh and unreasonable, but I then explain to him this… “Santa” is not a guy in a big red suit that lives at the North Pole with his elves and tiny reindeer. “Santa” is the spirit of giving. “Santa” is you and I and all the people around us.
“Santa is the people that take names off the angel trees even though they don’t know the children they are buying gifts for, he’s the people who put even two cents in the Salvation Army buckets at the grocery store, and he’s the people who watch the kids of a single mother so she can go do her shopping and if you give of yourself in any way, you are “Santa”. With that definition, the spirit of Christmas should truly be how we are all year round. It’s setting the Christian example even in the smallest of manners to give those around us, even strangers, hope.
It’s each person that holds a door for an elderly or handicapped person, it’s smiling at a child in the grocery line, it’s being a friend to someone who needs to talk, and it’s offering to pick up something at the store for a person who may have to pack up three kids and find a ride just to get milk or for someone who struggles physically to do that simple task on their own. I believe we were put on this earth and that this earth was created by a greater power and that by being someone who gives a little hope to someone, only we have the ability to make the meaning of life as valuable or invaluable as it can be.
We have the ability to allow our lives to intersect and be a positive example, even in the tiniest of ways. As we walk through life, we can influence millions of people and how they view humankind. The meaning of life to me is to make the most of the gift we have been given and to allow it to be something that translates to an incredibly meaningful purpose. In the end we will have that peace knowing that we took part in that gift and that somewhere along the way we made a difference in the life of another and set an example of our Christianity in every opportunity we are given to do so.