Sunday, November 27, 2011
Accepting, Pausing, Loving
So on Thanksgiving Day in our area, at least three radio stations begin playing Christmas carols 24/7 till around December 27th. I used to complain about that, but now? I love it. I even created a yearly tradition of cooking my Thanksgiving dinner while listening to radio Christmas songs in my kitchen.
What changed? My attitude. I used to get all flustered because people didn't adhere to my own personal time schedule ("they" shouldn't play Christmas songs anywhere until after Thanksgiving!), but then I figured how foolish! Why complain and get all cranky because everyone else on the planet doesn't adhere to my ideas of what is best?
In fact, I remember cranky people while I grew-up who always complained when other people made different choices than they would have (which was, like, daily). And I watched these complaining people repel others away, they became riddled with arthritis and never learned to just enjoy and deeply love people, warts and all. They believed there was only one way to live (their way, which they equated with God's) and they became bitter because they could not make the whole world behave.
Well, for some years I headed down that (scary) road, also, but one day I realized, hey! Making my own self behave is one full-time job, indeed. Really, I don't have leftover time to boss others around, nor do I even believe everybody should like what I like. God's endless creativity made us all too different and gave us way more freedom than that.
So as I noted here last year, this has become my Verse Of The Month every December when I'm tempted to complain about how others are 'doing Christmas':
"When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”
Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”' ... from John 21
What does it matter to me that stores play Christmas music in October? I need to mind my own business and just follow Jesus. What if tons of people spend lots of money for Christmas or totally plaster their house and yard with enough Christmas lights to be viewed from outer space? Why complain about that? I must just follow Jesus and 'do Christmas' as He asks me to (requiring much listening and obedience on my part).
There are myriad more examples, but you get the idea, right?
So today I'll just end this with something I share with you every single year, a place so peaceful and calming, a respite if you accidentally find yourself flailing and swirling inside the crazy December whirlpool:
Here's a peaceful place from me to you.
Stand out there awhile, alone, and no matter what anybody else may be doing, allow yourself to relax and contemplate the true meaning of Christmas. It hasn't changed at all, you know-- even in 2011 it's still all about Jesus.
"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands..." ... I Thessalonians 4:11
"I'm not gonna let commercialism ruin my Christmas!" ... Charlie Brown