As you read this on Christmas morning over coffee, take a moment to look around. If you have kids and grandchildren around, you may be surrounded by chaos. “One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas Day,” Andy Rooney, the witty commentator, once said. “Don’t clean it up too quickly.”
Maybe you have tamales and cheese grits warming in the oven for a family brunch; maybe you are basting a turkey for a big Christmas dinner. Or maybe your house doesn’t exactly look like a spread out of Southern Living. We all know that the holidays take many different forms in today’s homes.
Some of us might have enjoyed latkes and a nice brisket last night on the first night of Hanukkah. Some people may be alone with family and friends far away. Some folks are picking out which movies to go see this afternoon. No matter what your scenario looks like right now, it is time to sit back and enjoy the day. Finally!
We may have gotten carried away with the presents, the planning, the baking, and everything else that comes along. Then it’s time to remember what Bob Hope, the great entertainer who gave so much of himself to cheer up our troops during many Decembers, said about the holidays. “My idea of Christmas, whether old fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others.” So true.
In those moments when the action pauses, stop and reflect on what’s truly important. This is the day when time blurs, when we think back to holidays past and we look forward to the new year starting next Sunday.
After all our hustle-bustle to find just the right presents for everyone on our lists, here is a great perspective on the most important gifts we can share with others. Author Oren Arnold wrote that during the holidays – and year-round – we should remember to give…
- To your enemy, forgiveness.
- To an opponent, tolerance.
- To a friend, your heart.
- To a customer, service.
- To all, charity.
- To every child, a good example.
- To yourself, respect.
It’s been a difficult year around the country and many families and friends have been split by politics, but this is definitely not the season for debate and divisiveness. I saw a great Christmas poem this week that the creative Kathrin Berg, who has worked at the El Paso Community Foundation for many years, composed for her 2016 Christmas card. It was funny, but had a serious side. Part of this cute poem was about Santa Claus visiting El Paso – and finding his elves breaking up fights among the Democrats, Republicans, and Independents in San Jacinto Plaza! Her closing stanzas went like this:
From high above the Cortez swooped St. Nick to the rescue,
Saying, “Be kind to your neighbor and respect each point of view!
We all have the right to be free thinkers, on that we can agree.
So, be kind, rewind (to a simpler time) and return home safely.”
Then away Santa zipped, leaving all on their own to make amends,
To put differences aside and reconnect with family and friends,
Have a Merry Christmas no matter where in the world you are,
And make a wish for world peace when you find the bright star.
I couldn’t agree more. May your holidays be happy and may all good wishes come true. God bless us, one and all!