Our universe is speaking to us, let’s listen.

On this day in 1843, Charles Dickens’ incredibly impactful A Christmas Carol is first published in England. There is a quote from the character Jacob Marley that has always stayed with me: “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, benevolence, were all my business.”

At this holiday time whether you are celebrating the religious meaning of Christmas or Hanukkah, or if you are more of a secular mind enjoying the time of music, decorating, connecting with family and friends, and giving or receiving generous gifts, it always is a time to pause and reflect on how connected we are with each other and the powerful importance of community.

We seem to be at a time in America where many have forgotten the essential nature of the common good and our responsibility to others in our communities, and the imperative that the founders of our country put on the common good. In fact the preamble of our U.S. Constitution begins with “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare…”. As one of our key founding fathers John Adams said, “Government is instituted for the common good.”

The common good used to be a concept that we all could be unified around, but today way too many in politics are pushing division and attacking the idea of the common good. Elected officials in the Republican Party, one of the two main legacy parties in America, has all but abandoned the idea of acting in the common good. And this is especially concerning at this time when we desperately need to come together and act in the best interests of our communities and the globe.

When I was finishing writing my latest book Revelations on the River earlier this year, I was exploring the idea of how interconnected we all are in this world in so many different ways, and how important it is we understand and realize those links and connections.

It seems the universe (or God as I happen to believe) keeps sending us messages of our mutual interconnections and that it is an absolute necessity to unify and come together. And too often the response has been to become even more divided and have even less interest in the common good.

We are in a global economy and we can no longer operate on our own and think we can create a just and equitable economy that works for all without consideration of what is happening in other countries and internationally. What happens over there on any number of economic issues, has a profound effect on what happens here. What is going on in Athens, Greece or Paris, France, is connected to what happens here in Athens or Paris, Texas. Whether it be international trade or the financial crisis we experienced nearly fifteen years ago or the recent issues of shipping and the supply chain, all impact us in every town and community here.

The global impact of climate change is a daily reminder, and it has been for years, of a universe calling out for us all to come together for the common good and address this most crucial issue. Hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, floods, winter storms and serious weather events are happening here and around the world directly related to this global climate crisis, and are a constant message for us to do something in a unified way.

Now, and in the last two years, we all face a global pandemic where our lives, our work, and our schools have been completely disrupted and millions of our fellow citizens have become sick and died. This virus started over there but it has impacted every here in every corner of the planet. And this sickness only can be dealt with if we come together in unity for the common good and let go of our divisions and realize how interconnected we all are. What we do for our own health in vaccines and protocols is also the path for what is related to the public health.

The universe might have started out whispering to us how interconnected we all are but now it is shouting in such a strong way we cannot ignore the message. It is as if the universe is saying “Hey y’all, divisions are going to defeat you, and if you don’t see how connected you all are and the necessity of acting in the common good, things are going to keep getting worse.”

Let us listen to the universe, and to each other, and put the common good at the center of our politics and governance. We are currently on a path to peril if we shut our eyes and ears to what is happening around us. As we celebrate this holiday season, let us honor Christmas and our Constitution by making the common good the center of our conversations. The globe is telling us what to do, and the clock is ticking. Let us quit hitting the snooze button and wake up and walk and work together towards a better world.

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