A place of writing and reflection…
But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?
— 1 John 3:17
I’ve heard about enough this week of all the stories of this person or that person exacting their own breed of selfishness on another because they don’t like someone’s Christmas decorations, because they don’t celebrate the holiday the same way.
First there were the complaints about Starbuck’s cups attacking Christmas and of course no one was happy about that. Schools have banned Christmas parties, sweets, and decorations because they’re not inclusive enough to satisfy the politically correct police. There have been multiple people complaining about Nativity scenes that have been in place for years (and now a part of even public tradition) but are now far too offensive to select groups and therefore must go.
But we’re all expected now to praise other gods like the officials and organizations who believe they are freeing us all from the clutches of intolerance only to become intolerant hypocrites themselves hating and banning anything they don’t like.
Some of these situations have people running to the courts for restraining orders to put in place some kind of control over their own property. Even a visit to see Santa Claus is denied to precious children.
Everyone’s unhappy this Christmas and they’re taking it out on everyone else!
Hurting people do hurtful things, and putting up every fine-lined boundary isn’t going to help anyone.
We live in a country full of Ebenezer’s holding onto grudges and hurts from that past, and instead of walking through them, they walk around “bah-hum-bug” style trying to make the next person less happy or just as miserable as themselves because they can’t stand to see someone else happier all the while sweeping their own issue under a rug.
I think we could all use a good read of Charles’ Dickens A Christmas Carol.
There are people hurting everywhere.
You don’t have to look far.
Sometimes they’re as close as your next door neighbor who’s trying to figure out how they’re going to afford feeding their kids much less presents for a tree they may not have. Sometimes it’s a classmate contemplating suicide because of the burdensome life they believe they are doomed to live. They are desperate for change and hope, but everything is falling down around their ears. There are parents grieving over children gone too soon. There’s the couple who won’t be spending Christmas together because of work, deployment, divorce, or death that has come to part them.
What about these people?
Surely these are far more legitimate hurts than your offense over saying “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas”. Surely a child’s heart has more value than your protest at the mall. Surely the plight of the homeless should be of more concern to modern man than how offensive you believe a pink Christmas tree is.
Drop all your offenses and complaints for once and think of someone other than yourself. Go give the homeless guy a hot meal and a coat. Go serve at a soup line. Give your excess gifts to the kids who have none. Spend some time with the widow living in the nursing home who has no family to visit her.
Christmas is not a time for propaganda.
You win no one for your cause picketing on another’s property and endangering people. You gain no love cursing at strangers you’ve never met. You have no friends when you take everyone to court over rules you want established. You show no love to anyone when you do these out of selfishness and hate.
Put down your “war on Christmas”.
Put down your agendas.
Put down your grudges, hurts, and grievances.
It’s Christmas for crying out loud!
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” —Ephesians 4:31-32
I remember a lady when I worked at a Goodwill store several years ago. She professed to be a believer but acted like anything else most of the time. Come to find out she was a very unhappy woman. She was married but didn’t love the man she had wed so many years ago. They were strangers in a house divided by a wall of unresolved feelings.
She had inturn turned to my fellow employees and I and had made quite the name for herself notating everything we did or didn’t do (especially for her) and notifying the head office next door of our faults, she had seen. She had done this so long that no one really listened to her any more.
She didn’t like the fact that she wasn’t getting the attention she wanted and went on to verbally attack and even to take advantage of one of my co-workers who had never done her any wrong. She went so far as to begin threatening me when a manager and I took control of the situation to put a stop to it all. She was eventually told she would be removed from the store if she continued. After which she left our presence for a while until she deemed it safe to start the cycle all over again.
It didn’t matter to her if it was Christmas or Easter. She was always the same bitter woman, carrying around the same broken heart. Instead of dealing with it she let selfishness take hold and went on to hurt anyone she saw in her own eyes as more happy than herself. She could have had such a marvelous testimony! She could have been such a help to the hurting!
Saddly, she chose to give into her hurt and become an Ebenezer.
She turned to hurting people instead of helping. She had no real, genuine friends. She was alone and unloved, because she gave no love herself. And likewise she allowed no one to love her in turn.
Most especially saddening is that as a believer she knew the truth. But didn’t follow it.
Thus I am calling out to all of you:
“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
Awake from your selfishness!
Awake from your bickering!
Awake from your picketing!
Awaken from your anger, grudges, and pain!
It is not too late to turn this Christmas around and show someone else the love they are lacking. It’s not too late to forgo ourselves for once and fill the financial need of another. It’s not too late to love the one who thinks they are looking at the end.
Let’s try to be a little less selfish and stop being so concerned about our offenses.
Stop trying to be correct, politically or otherwise.
Let’s show a little love this Christmas.
Who knows, perhaps it will help to heal your own hurts in the process…