I was sick for Thanksgiving. Not the down-and-out, under-the-covers, bright-red-nosed, hacking kind of sick. Just a pesky cold. This side of miserable, but not even at 60%.
It was mostly my fault. I over-planned, over-scheduled, overestimated my own strength. I did too much the week before we hosted about 18 (the biggest party of our year). Tim knew it was coming, but I just kept plowing through the next thing. And, right on schedule, the sneezing followed by endless hand washing.
But I did better for Christmas. There’s an unopened box of decorations, traditional cookies that will have to skip a year, and a couple of presents that might be just a bit late. I’m good with it.
I was hoping that my last blessing of the season would be joyful and light-hearted as well.
But I cannot ignore what is happening here, there, and everywhere. The sheer ugliness and escalating man’s inhumanity to man have gone beyond the pale, to the point that my tears are always just behind the happiness I show and feel during this glorious season.
I cannot not see the dreadful way people are treating each other…
- The unbearable, nauseating examples of physical, emotional, and psychological pain inflicted – for reasons of religious difference, greed, or raw cruelty – on those worldwide who cannot defend themselves.
- Using children as pawns – from criminally demanding money for their safe return, to teaching the “illegals” a lesson, to exacting revenge on a former spouse.
- The inexplicable and deplorable callous, as well as the lack of simple compassion, demonstrated by the United States at its southern border, a country of enormous wealth that evidently should not be shared even in the smallest of measures.
The list is endless.
But just as discouraging is the division among those who share my belief in Jesus, Son of God, Savior of the world, as we justify our words and actions with claims of faith or opinion that no one dare have the audacity to question. As examples…
The fact that I believe in the sanctity of life and that life begins at conception – but its sanctity does not end at birth. That the lives being put at risk by our senseless asylum restrictions and heartless “policies” are just as precious as those in the womb.
The fact that I believe my economic stability comes second to the good of the rest of humanity. I know. I know. I can’t save the world and Tim and I have to be smart about money so we don’t become dependent on others and so we are prepared for an uncertain future and on and on. I know. But if keeping my 401K on a strong growth track is keeping us from helping people (i.e., refugees and asylum seekers) who may need a little help just to survive, then I must carefully consider which is more important, my 401K or the welfare of those Jesus loves as much as He loves me.
The fact that I believe, and I quote the fictional Andrew Shepard (from The American President), “being President of this country is entirely about character.” And that the same is true for all leaders, in all settings, at all levels of power or importance. That what they say and how they act can never be ignored or justified by their ability to “get things done” with no regard for the impact their lack of moral fiber has and will have on the world for generations to come.
Oh, good golly, Miss Molly… I need to stop. This is the holiday season of hope and joy.
So, instead, hard right turn… Reflect with me on Paul’s letter to the Colossians … hardly the story of Christmas, but lovely as a reminder of why we needed the nativity. Paul is speaking to the Church, so those who do not hold the Scripture to be sacred or live with different beliefs may choose to tune out. No judgement. Do what you need to do.
But I think Paul’s words convey universal wisdom:
… put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against any one. Just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.Colossians 3: 12-15 (NASB)
And beyond these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body and be thankful.
My lovelies, there is nothing more precious I could wish for you this fourth Monday of the season than putting love beyond all of everything … and hoping the peace of Christ will rule in your heart – and in mine.
Merry Christmas and God’s peace…xoxox