A friend said to me that we have to be concerned with “those less fortunate than ourselves.” Of course, I agreed. Who could disagree?
Then I wondered what does that phrase mean: those less fortunate than ourselves.
I assume that he meant financially less fortunate. We tend to evaluate lives in financial terms. Yet the studies of “Subjective Well Being,” otherwise known as happiness, show no correlation between happiness and wealth. In short, there are happy poor people and unhappy rich people.
Charles Dickens understood this when he wrote “A Christmas Carol.” Scrooge’s transformation has nothing to do with giving money, though he later provides for Bob Cratchit’s family. His transformation is about his bonds with others. It is through these bonds that his giving becomes meaningful.
When you read or watch “A Christmas Carol,” who do you think is less fortunate, Scrooge or Bob Cratchit? Who would you rather be?
Impoverishment does not apply to money only. It applies to the spirit, as well.
In this sense, we are all less fortunate than others.
We are all lacking somewhere in our spirit. The very act of giving at Christmas time may be a manifestation of our spiritual gaps.
Do you know anyone whose happiness is not flawed?
Meditation on Our Spiritual Flaws
How is my spirit flawed? Do I let my fears hold me back? Do I compare myself to others and feel sorry for myself? As I write my check to my favorite Christmas Charity, whose needs am I ignoring in my own life?