OPINION: Lifeguards show us a Christmas without borders
I'M not sure if you are aware but for some time now there has been a "War on Christmas".
This attack on our festive season is mainly to be found in the imagination, but you can find some pointers to it from our friends from Fox News in the Unites States.
Conservative commentator Bill O'Reilly recycles the story each December.
The narrative goes something like this.
The nasty and threatening atheists are stalking "our Christmas".
They refuse to use the word "Christmas", ignoring the "reason for the season" , urging people not to go to church and wishing them a "Happy Holiday" instead.
The way that "we" can fight back against this attack on the festive season is to strategically place the nativity scene with Mary and Joseph and the newborn baby Jesus in prominent positions.
If you are on social media - you may come across a few "war on Christmas" posts.
The irony that many of the very same people wanting us to honour a Middle Eastern family fleeing persecution and finding safety in a foreign land also want to close the borders to all refugees is apparently lost in the fine print.
It is not my intention to refight a phony war.
Instead I would like to put forward another way of seeing Christmas, a Christmas without borders if you will. For those of us who believe it is more than a story (and it is not a requirement that you do), the Christmas story is about a God who chose to enter this world as the face of a vulnerable child.
A child with no status. A child whose parents had literally fled for their lives.
We have seen images of parents and children like this fleeing for their lives from Syria this year.
Part of the message of this story is that love has no borders.
The question that is posed is who can we include, rather than who can we exclude, who does not belong.
And that's my problem with the phony war on Christmas.
It is subverting a universal story of love to create borders which divide the community into "us" and "them".
"True Americans", "True Christians", "True Aussies", in other words "Us" and then the rest of "Them".
Here in Australia this same thinking creates a false choice.
If you care for farmers facing the drought, you can't care for refugees. As if compassion has a boundary.
If you care for refugees you don't care about Aboriginal people or the homeless.
If you don't buy the "baby in the manger story" I'll call on an Australian icon.
At this time of year many of us flock to the beach.
One of the best things about the beach is our Australian life-savers. Men and women who give up their time all through the year to ensure that we can safely enjoy the waves, the salt and the sea.
When a swimmer finds themselves in trouble the lifeguard doesn't stop to check the person's visa status. They aren't concerned with the person's religious background, whether they're rich or poor, even if they are a pleasant person to have around.
They simply see somebody in need and respond.
Even if somebody disregards the "law of the beach" and swims outside the flags, the lifesavers will do their best to save you.
Simply put for me they are Christmas without borders.
To those who take the time each fortnight to read my musings a sincere thank you.
To those who give me feedback, thank you for taking the time to put your responses into words.
A merry Christmas to all and may there be peace on earth.