May we not pack up “Christmas”

Tonight as the Guiding star moves into position, I am afforded some time to think.  I sit on my comfortable couch, eyes surveying the eruption of pretty paper, bows, and ribbons and I realize another Christmas season has ended. 

I love the Christmas season, the lights, the sounds, the music, and a sense of sensibility returns to the Earth.  Christmas season ushers in a time of compassion and caring; which remains extinct during most of the year.

Today, through our country sides long lost uncles, aunts, friends, and strangers will gather setting aside their differences for a moment—a fleeting moment to share in the spirit of the season.

However, as the greedy flames inside the fireplace devour the yuletide log leaving glowing embers and cold ash in its place—Time continues to church the gears of the calendar.  Day by day drop from each coming month and the spirit of Christmas and fellowship is packed away much like the shiny ornaments from the tree. 

The ornaments and the sense of brotherhood are placed in the back of a dark closet or up in the recesses of the attic so the owner can pass by or below but not be “bothered” by the obligation or responsibility of the “Christmas spirit.”

I understand how easy it is to “forget”.  We have to work long hours to provide the latest technology and improvements for our family.  We want large houses, designer clothes, IPAD, IPhone 900, travel to Vermont in the summer and the Caribbean in the winter. 

Or for those who live paycheck to paycheck, the pressures of keeping the lights working in the house, food and drink in the refrigerator heat and cool for the seasonal months become the “priority.”  WE shift our focus from a collective brotherhood to a collective “me.”

The music of Christmas is quickly replaced from Carols of hope, peace, and joy to tunes of violence, sex, infidelity, and the urge to disrespect oneself and one’s country.

Soon we will return to the NFL protests, the disparaging remarks for the American President, and assigning blame for our perceived injustices and failures in the world to those nearest and furthest from us.

So, tonight, I challenge each of you.  Please do not pack up “Christmas”.  I am not saying we should provide a gift to someone every day, every week, or every month.  I am not saying that we celebrate the “moment of the birth”.  I understand that each religion has a different interpretation of the Christmas season.  However what is common for all—pray regularly and perform acts of charity.

So let us start.  Let us perform acts of charity.  Although, I am not going to call it acts of charity because of the negative connotation charity may carry.  Each week, I challenge you to provide an act of kindness.  The act may be as simple as stopping on your busy walk to talk to a stranger, take a moment to comfort someone who is weeping, visit a nursing home to prevent them from believing they have been forgotten, buy a coffee for a stranger, take a friend to lunch, call a relative you do not normally speak, instead of instigating a fight offer praise, instead of casting blame offer solutions, and instead of reacting in anger—pause and offer a kind word instead.

If we keep the “spirit” alive how many bullies will we silence?  How many people will no longer believe we are hypocrites?  Kind words can banish the darkness of depression.  A simple gesture can forge the bonds of a society, a family, a community into the bonds of strength and support. 

These moments can spread from a weekly event, into a daily event.  If you practice this act for 52 weeks, it will become a habit.  Imagine the face of a child if you say, “I am proud of you” instead of “Are you stupid?  What were you thinking?”  Imagine your coworker, your child, your spouse if you said “I support you, I am with you” instead of “You failed,” “You disappoint me.”  It is easier to react to a situation at times instead of pausing and disarming a situation.

Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus and yes, there was a Savior born on Christmas Day that promises a better world, a better community, and a better world.  This Savior exists every day, not just for a month or month and a half.  It is our responsibility to carry acts of fellowship forward and onward.

Merry Christmas and remember, just one act a week can change our future. 1,000,000 San Antonians—we do not want to be an individual but all acting once a week.  1,000,000 acts of kindness a week—daunting isn’t it?

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