Orlando, FL December 25, 2015—The office of award-winning mystery novelist Digger Cartwright has released Mr. Cartwright’s Christmas message delivered on Christmas Day at the Thinking Outside the Boxe Symposium and Champagne Summit in Orlando.
The transcript of Mr. Cartwright’s speech follows:
Thank you all, Merry Christmas and God bless everyone. This is always a wonderful event, and I’m very honored to be here once again. To those of you have been here in prior years and heard me speak, thank you for coming back again. I think you’ll find my message is somewhat similar to before, but I feel that it is an important message nonetheless. To those first timers, welcome, and I hope you find something to take away from this event.
Christmas is a special time of year, but unfortunately the spirit of Christmas and the message of Christmas are often lost in the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping and holiday party-going mixed with everyday life. You’ll notice that I said ‘holiday’ shopping. As we know, the liberal media continues to try to force the secularization of Christmas upon the American people by slowly and systematically dismantling Christmas. ‘Merry Christmas’ and the Christmas tree are stricken from some places in favor of holiday trees and holiday wishes. References to the meaning of Christmas are fewer and fewer and the Christmas message is blurred. This has been a trend for the last decade and continues at an alarming pace. The effort to make an all encompassing, general ‘holiday’ at the expense of Christmas marginalizes the Christian faith and should be seen as an affront to the Christian values upon which this nation was founded.
I celebrate Christmas, yet I know many people who don’t. Some celebrate Hanukkah, some celebrate Kwanzaa, and some don’t celebrate at all. I don’t care what people celebrate. I’ll wish just about anyone a Merry Christmas. If they don’t like that, they can forget that I offered them good tidings. I’d be happy to receive good Hanukkah or Kwanzaa wishes. I’d be flattered that someone thought enough of me to offer me those good tidings. If people don’t like my Christmas wishes, they can reject them but they don’t have the right to impose their will upon me and millions of other Christians by pressuring us to eliminate the term ‘Merry Christmas’ in exchange for emasculated, politically correct jargon. So, let me say it once again, Merry Christmas!
We live in a time of conflict, materialism, and self absorption. There is conflict among nations, conflict between religions and civilizations (whether anyone is willing to admit it or not), conflict between races, conflict between those who don’t respect the rule of law and those who wish to preserve it, conflict between those who have and those who don’t, conflict between political parties, and conflict within ourselves. Not all conflict is armed conflict or violent conflict. Much of the conflict is tension or restlessness or aggressiveness. Without doubt, this conflict can lead to unrest, anger, resentment, and ultimately violence.
But conflict among nations, religions, or ideologies is a problem whose resolution is for another day and another time. As individuals we cannot singlehandedly solve these conflicts. It is rather for us to work to find peace within ourselves and with those around us. Sometimes neither can be accomplished easily. As individuals we must work hard to quell the conflict within ourselves which often leads to conflict with others. We must seek to understand the nature of that conflict and find ways to overcome it. Only if we are at peace with ourselves can we be at peace with others. Too often we become consumed by internal strife and external drama which leads to problems in our everyday life and damages relationships with those around us.
Those with internal conflict are like crippled ships drifting aimlessly in the vast ocean. They are lost. They seek direction and guidance and when they can find neither they become frustrated, bitter, and angry. They channel and vent these powerful emotions towards others. There is an emptiness inside them that they attempt to fill by denigrating others. They try to feel better about themselves by hurting others—sometimes physically and sometimes emotionally. They fuel the fires of their own internal conflict by drawing others into their personal quagmires of emptiness, anger, and despair. They are unhappy people and they hope to make others around them unhappy as well.
We live in a time of materialism. The accumulation of material things serves as a status statement but also seeks to quench the thirst of those who have a void in life which they are seeking to fill. They believe that this void and the underlying unhappiness that they experience can be filled with material goods. They believe that they will be happy when they get the new cell phone or the new car or the new TV. But the fulfillment they seek from material goods is an illusion. They are living a lie and only fooling themselves. When the satisfaction of the new phone quickly wears off, they are faced with the same emptiness that they had before, and they seek a new object to desire. And thus the cycle never ends.
Retailers prey upon the wants and desires of those who seek material goods as solace for a troubled soul. Those who are weak and torn with conflict and strife are ripe prey and willingly succumb to marketing efforts. Yet many of these individuals also bemoan the loudest the evils of corporations. All the while they fuel the fires with each successive purchase they make. In the end, the want of more and more material goods fails to fill the void in their lives or end the internal or external conflict.
The satisfaction of materialism is ephemeral. Individuals consumed with conflict and attempting to assuage those feelings with materialism would be better served to give rather than receive. Helping others does more to calm the troubled soul than personal consumption. The satisfaction of knowing that you’ve made a difference in the lives of others lasts long beyond the satisfaction of acquiring the material good. Charity makes tremendous strides in soothing a troubled soul.
We live in a world where there are millions of people and animals in need. In our own nation, the greatest and most prosperous nation on earth, we have children and seniors who go to bed hungry at night and who live without secure food supplies. In the most prosperous nation on earth, we have individuals and families who are homeless or lack the basic necessities. We have homeless, orphaned, or abandoned animals living in shelters waiting to find a forever home. We have seniors living at home or in facilities who have been forgotten. All the while, many of us go about our daily lives with little consideration of those less fortunate or those in need. We become too wrapped up in our own routines or our own lives to consider others in need or how we can make a difference.
Charity not only makes a difference in the lives of those in need but also makes a difference in the lives of those who give whether they suffer from internal or external conflict or not. Giving is something each of us should strive to do no matter how great or how small our capacity to give. As many of you know, I’ve never been enthusiastic about financial contributions. Money given to a charity is often used for salaries or operating expenses. The direct impact is not seen or felt, and it is altogether too easy to write a check to a charity and move on. As you also know, I prefer to give what can be most useful. Each blanket given to the homeless shelter, each can of food donated to the food bank, each bag of dog or cat food given to the animal shelter, and each book, puzzle, or toiletry given to those in nursing homes makes a direct difference in the life of the recipient. We should each give to our own capacity. Those of us who have been blessed with plenty should give as much as we can. Many who are working and living paycheck to paycheck say they don’t have the discretionary income to be able to give. I would point out that the most valuable thing you can give anyone is your time. To those who want to give but don’t have the financial capacity to do you, volunteering at a shelter or home is a gift that is of immeasurable value to the recipients.
It truly is better to give than to receive. Charity goes a long way for both the giver and the recipient, and the satisfaction from charity is more meaningful than the satisfaction from materialism and self satisfaction.
And finally, we live in a world where so many people, particularly the young people, are self absorbed. They feel that the world revolves around them and that everyone should bow to their every whim. They are spoiled and self centered. They often lack basic social skills such as manners; they don’t say ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ as they think this is unnecessary since they deserve something or they’re entitled to it. They care only about themselves and what satisfies them. They have no concern for the feelings or needs of others. They crave attention and adulation. This is their mechanism for dealing with the void within. They need to feel important and admired to be complete. They mistakenly believe this quells the strife within, but it only serves to create a false sense of security. When they are taken outside their circle, their illusions of a self centric universe are shattered. They become angry and hateful. They seek to hurt and manipulate others in an effort to make themselves the center of attention again.
They live a sad and pathetic existence. They know nothing of sacrifice as they expect others to sacrifice for them. They know nothing of giving as they only take. They know nothing of being a complete and wholesome individual and a functioning member of society. They think only of themselves and what makes them happy. They think nothing of others. Conflict and drama are their lives. They have an insatiable internal conflict and they revel on external conflict. They are empty human beings. They know nothing of charity unless they are on the receiving end. They know nothing of peace as they have never truly experienced it before. They know nothing of goodwill. These people set the world back; they don’t move it forward in any positive manner.
Peace and goodwill towards men are at the root of the meaning of Christmas, yet our society is getting away from this simple message that transcends the bounds of any religion. By striving for peace within ourselves and amongst friends and family, we make the world a better place. This can only be accomplished willingly and with great effort but it is a cause greater than any one individual and the effects are far reaching. While I’m not a counselor on these matters, the solution seems pretty simple. Lead a good life. Be honest with yourself and with others. Treat others with respect and decency. Be humble and be thankful. Give rather than receive. Practice patience and tolerance but don’t blindly acquiesce. Be strong but kind. Make the most of every day that you have. Make the most of time with family and friends. Try to do something every day to make the world a better place—smile, laugh, listen, share. Be good to one another. Keep the spirit and message of Christmas burning inside you each and every day of the year. With that, we can make our lives, the lives of those around us, and the world a better place.
Thank you again. God bless, and Merry Christmas.
About Mr. Cartwright—Digger Cartwright is the award-winning author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versailles Conspiracy, a modern day political thriller, Murder at the Ocean Forest, a traditional mystery novel set in the 1940s, The House of Dark Shadows, a psychological thriller, The Maynwarings: A Game of Chance, a mystery set in the Old West, and Conversations on the Bench, an inspirational/motivational novel. His books are available in hardback, paperback, and e-book format through his website, www.DiggerCartwright.com, on-line booksellers and bookstores. The House of Dark Shadows, The Maynwarings, and Conversations on the Bench all won first place in various categories in the 2015 Regional Excellence Book Awards. The House of Dark Shadows and Conversations on the Bench both won silver medals in the 2015 Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards.
Mr. Cartwright has contributed to a number of articles on a wide range of financial, strategic planning, and policy topics. He frequently contributes articles, commentaries, and editorials focusing on current economic and political topics for the private think tank, Thinking Outside the Boxe.
He enjoys golf, participating in charity golf tournaments, and attending WWE events. He divides his time between Washington, D.C., South Carolina, and Florida.
Executive Assistant to Mr. Cartwright
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