A Simple Message for a Complex Time

This last year has been full of surprises and some craziness. For example, so far this year we’ve had a shocking election, a total eclipse, a riot at Berkley (what else is new), the UK vote supporting Brexit, a truck that rammed cyclists and pedestrians in New York, a horror in LasVegas where 58 people were killed and 515 injured from a shooting. If that wasn’t enough, there have been multiple sexual harassment charges from Tinseltown to Washington DC, the Dow Jones Average has reached nearly 50 new highs and The University of Alabama lost a football game. Wow!

I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that this year has been nothing short of fast moving and wild. So how does one find peace in this near bedlam? I recommend ignoring the news and celebrating the season. Certainly that’s what our family is planning to do. In fact, it is something to which we look forward all year. We slow down and enjoy each other’s company along with that of close friends.

I remember when I was a kid growing up in the inner city of Chicago. I used to shovel snow to earn money for Christmas. As people I knew passed me at work, I would wish them a merry Christmas. The closer to Christmas it got, the less discriminating I was and the more enthusiastic my greetings became. I would greet just about everyone I saw with a hearty “Merry Christmas.” And I usually got a “Merry Christmas” and a smile right back from them.

People just seemed to be in friendlier moods back then. We were certainly less politically correct, but I think we were also happier. I was less concerned about myself when I passed on my greeting, and more concerned about spreading the joy of the season! I thought it was what Jesus would want me to do!

I had a conversation about this with Gary, a Jewish friend of mine, and I asked him if he was offended when people wished him a Merry Christmas. He answered that he was not offended in the least, and then he went on to explain why.

Gary said that he knew that Christmas was one of the most sacred celebrations in all of Christendom. He knew also that the people who said, “Merry Christmas” were in fact, wishing him the best of the season. He had observed that Christmas was a time of giving, and joy and peace. So the Christmas well-wishers were actually wishing him good things and not harmful or offensive things.

I must say that Gary had a rather clear understanding of why people wish each other a Merry Christmas, and I hope you do too. Please know that when I wish you a Merry Christmas it’s a good thing not bad, and in a friendly way I hope to make you smile. So to Gary and all of my other readers out there, I wish you a Merry and peaceful Christmas and a healthful and prosperous New Year! Enjoy the season. My next blog won’t come out until early January. Until then, thanks for reading and enjoy this blessed and glorious season!