This Christmas give somebody the gift of mercy and forgiveness. Be broad with your giving and generous. We all need a lot of both. For such a joyful holiday of cheer, giving and yuletide merriment there is much to be stressed about.
Typically, people have been stressed about all the holiday parties, gatherings and Christmas scheduling. This year there is more stress related to sickness, masks, vaccinations, Omicron, natural disasters, filled hospitals, massive numbers of funerals and inflation. The last couple of Christmases have not been life as usual for most of us.
You may have watched Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. He becomes over the top stressed out when his Christmas lights won’t work and he literally kicks, stomps and curses a blue streak across his yard. It’s a funny scene. Mostly because in some way we’ve all been there a time or two.
Most of us enjoy giving if we can. We enjoy giving to the people we love. Christmas trees, decorating, eating and gatherings are all a part of the season. However, we become frustrated when we lose sight of the big picture. The big picture includes looking around and beyond our Christmas pain. Millions of people would simply be thrilled to have the problems that some of us have. Many people are in the nursing home and will never go to the mall again. Some have a terminal disease and this may be their last Christmas. Depression will weigh heavy on many who have lost their homes, buried loved ones or experienced financial devastation from medical care or natural disasters. Most of these people would love to have a house to decorate or gifts to buy for a loved one.
Celebrate Christmas this year. Give away some special gifts. Give gifts that money can’t buy or time cannot fade. Give love, give forgiveness and give some mercy. Extend these generously to yourself. If you can’t give them to yourself it’s impossible to give them to others.
The little baby that Christmas celebrates became a man and taught people that we should love God and love others as we love ourselves. Herein is part of the rub. Too often people stop loving themselves. Life becomes imperfect, we fail, get hurt or mad and we kick Santa or the reindeer across the yard. Unfortunately, we don’t stop there. We go into Ebenezer Scrooge bah humbug mode. We don’t get our groove back and miss out on some of Christmas’ most wonderful characteristics- mercy and forgiveness.
The Christmas story is about a child who came to show us the way. He showed us how to love, forgive and be merciful. Some of the people in your life probably need it more than you know. Give generously and start with yourself.
Dr. Glenn Mollette is a graduate of numerous schools including Georgetown College, Southern and Lexington Seminaries in Kentucky. He is the author of 13 books including Uncommon Sense, Grandpa’s Store, Minister’s Guidebook insights from a fellow minister. His column is published weekly in over 600 publications in all 50 states.