This Christmas, give someone the gift of mercy and forgiveness. Be broad with your donations and generous. We all need both. For such a joyful holiday of Christmas cheer, gift and mirth, there is something to be stressed about.
Typically, people have been stressed out by all of the Christmas and New Year celebrations, gatherings, and Christmas programming. This year there is more stress related to illness, masks, vaccinations, the Omicron, natural disasters, crowded hospitals, massive number of funerals and inflation. The past two Christmases haven’t been life as usual for most of us.
You might have watched Chevy Chase in the National Lampoon Christmas Vacation. He gets too stressed out when his Christmas lights aren’t working and he literally kicks, stomps and curses a blue streak in his backyard. It’s a funny scene. Mainly because somehow we’ve all been there once or twice.
Most of us like to give if we can. We love to give to the people we love. Christmas trees, decoration, meals and gatherings are all 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 just love to have the problems that some of us have. Lots of people are in the nursing home and will never go to the mall again. Some have a terminal illness and it may be their last Christmas. Depression will take a heavy toll on many people who have lost their homes, buried loved ones, or suffered financial devastation due to medical treatment or natural disasters. Most of these people would like to have a house to decorate or a gift to buy for a loved one.
Celebrate Christmas this year. Give special gifts. Give gifts money can’t buy or time can’t pass. Give love, forgive and bestow mercy. Extend them generously to yourself. If you cannot give them to yourself, it is impossible to give them to others.
The little baby that Christmas celebrates grew into a man and taught people that we are to love God and love others as we love ourselves. Here is part of the catch. Too often people stop loving each other. Life becomes imperfect, we fail, we get hurt or get angry and we kick Santa or reindeer across the yard. Unfortunately, we don’t stop there. We enter Ebenezer Scrooge bah humbug mode. We can’t find our rhythm and miss some of the most wonderful features of Christmas: mercy and forgiveness.
The Christmas story tells the story of a child who came to show us the way. He showed us how to love, forgive, and be merciful. Some people in your life probably need it more than you think. Give generously and start with yourself.
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Dr. Glenn Mollette is a graduate of many schools including Georgetown College, Southern and Lexington Seminaries in Kentucky. He is the author of 13 books, including Uncommon Sense, Grandpa’s Store, The Minister’s Guide, The Ideas of a Colleague Minister. His column is published weekly in more than 600 publications in all 50 states.