We’re sliding into the quiet days of Christmas, then into the new year. Being buried under one of the biggest snowstorms we’ve had in many years provide a little extra time to think about the meaning of this season.
They say Christmas is for children and it certain seems the case around here. My wonderful wife Lynne and I are blessed with seven grandchildren–the oldest is five. And they are all in town for the season, including a couple granddaughters and their parents in our home. Sure, sometimes it gets overwhelming but what a wonderful gift and blessing. Like many of you, the economic conditions are causing plenty of stresses, strains and uncertainties–and I am one who takes these things far more seriously than they deserve. But the bright happy faces of the children as they gather with their cousins, see the lights on the tree, and open their gifts is a reminder that life goes on and with great joy when you can see the world with the eyes of a child.
It seems to me that the pall that hangs over everything relating to our economic woes have some significant benefits. While it is very bad news for retailers, I have a sense that this year for many people the focus will shift a little away from all the glitter and gifts to thinking about things that really matter. Family, friends, good times together, and love. I just finished reading a book titled “Same Kind of Different as Me,” which was a wonderful thing to read during this season. A simple but powerful story of the unlikely friendship between a homeless, violent ex-con and a wealthy art dealer from Dallas. A friendship created by the wife of the art dealer who demonstrated unconditional love in such a powerful way to break down the walls of a former sharecropper and 10 year inmate of one of the worst prisons in America.
I could wish for nothing better for you this Christmas than to read that book and have it open your eyes and heart as it did mine. For those suffering fear and uncertainty, it is a reminder that with strength and courage we can survive anything. And for those of us who have become too accustomed to the luxuries and comforts of life, it is a reminder of the great poverty that we experience when these things cut us off from loving and serving others.
If you find yourself afraid of what this next year will bring, despairing of life ever returning to normal, I encourage you to find a new normal. A new way of living and thinking that makes a whole lot more room for those around you who truly need you and the love you have to give.
Merry Christmas to all you, and blessed peace in the new year.