During this and every holiday season, when decorative lights pave the way for good feelings and cheer, we are naturally inclined to go above and beyond our usual ways to be kind. We treat each other with an almost overt hospitality, where we lay down our proverbial jackets in puddles to make sure perfect strangers don’t get their shoes muddy.

It is during this time of year that we make certain kindness is apparent, by giving to charities, helping needy families, buying presents for one another just because we are in the mood to be generous. The holiday season is short, unfortunately, as we pack up our decorations and holiday spirit almost as fast as we put them up. We go back to our old ways, honking our horns when someone moves in front of us on the road, not noticing the woman struggling to get her groceries to her car, not bothering to let the dad and his child step ahead of us in line.

As great as the holiday spirit is, it is regrettable that we settle back into our old ways once the tree comes down. But it doesn’t and shouldn’t have to be that way. While human beings seem to be inherently selfish 11 months out of the year, the holiday spirit exists because it feels good to be kind — to see others happy or better off based on what we have done to help them.

With the New Year just a week away and a new decade upon us, it is time to carry the holiday spirit throughout the year. Let’s stop making excuses for our bad behavior and relish in kindness and generosity — whether being the giver or the receiver. We must learn to put our differences aside and focus on the positive basic precepts that bind us together.

John Lennon said it best in his song, “Imagine.” While the song was written during a time of great confusion, when a generation of people was struggling to understand the pointless bloodshed in Vietnam and as the civil rights movement rocked the county, the issues of the past decade has greatly divided our country, and even disjointed us from our neighbors. But as we sit in our homes this holiday season, passing out gifts and sharing precious moments with our families and friends or perhaps, just enjoying holiday themed movies, be resolved to not let the spirit of charity and kindness be thrown out with the tree this coming year.

We hope the holiday spirit will remain alive and well throughout 2010. We hope Lennon’s message shines through and inspires everyone to try just a little harder to be kind.

“Imagine”
By John Lennon

Imagine there’s no Heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace
You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world
You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one