There Is No War On Christmas.

Getting wrapped up in “The War On Christmas” seems to be the most un-Christmas like thing we could ever do. Galatians 5:22-23 reads, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” For those of us who claim to be Christians we are assured that once we accept Jesus as our personal savior then the Holy Spirit will dwell within us. That, to me, means that if I fully embrace all that means I should feel love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. None of that is what I feel when confronted by the cable news created division that there is a war on Christmas.AF69D6F6-9402-43E5-99C8-FBC339137614

Look, if you say, “Merry Christmas” to me I’m going to reply the same and mean it. If you say Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, or Happy Festivus I’m going to be glad you are sharing happy wishes attributed to your season and truly wish you likewise. That’s the broader true meaning of the holiday. It’s a time of coming together, appreciating our blessings and sharing glad tidings. To think otherwise only makes us feel defensive, victimized and petty. Yes petty. We should be embarrassed taking offense when someone offers us a holiday greeting. I truly have never met a soul who took offense at my wishing them a Merry Christmas and I am sure I have done that to people who don’t share my faith thousands of times.

That’s the rub. If non-Christians aren’t offended by being wished a Merry Christmas it would seem taking offense in the reverse really cheapens the beauty behind that true meaning of Christmas. Are the words we speak a shining star like the one over Bethlehem or are they a cheap tin star atop a plastic tree put up year after year? Truth be told, my biggest complaint with the war on Christmas is that every time it’s brought up I am sucked right out of any feelings I have of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I’m working on that. If I truly believe the Holy Spirit dwells within me I’m not being a very good host when I get mad at people who get mad at people over how the wish warm greetings to one another. I would hope that those who don’t share my view might recognize their true feelings when taking offense by their perceived war on Christmas.

One of the great promises of Christianity is heaven. In heaven there will be no bitter divisions or inconsiderate responses. Remember those words, “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done. On earth as it is in heaven?” How about we all work on ending divisions and inconsiderate responses this holiday season and focus on creating a little heaven on earth instead.
Happy Holidays!

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The Pros & Cons of Extraversion.

To say I’m an extrovert would be an understatement. My family hasn’t really told me how they feel about that. I’m sure there have been some cringe worthy moments over time.  I’m also confident my outgoing nature has produced some warm memories as well. It is almost as if I just can’t not engage people who come across my path. Sunday was such an example.
We were walking through one of the img_4864
Smithsonian gardens when I overheard two ladies behind us exclaim, “Isn’t that beautiful?” Not missing a beat I spun and inquired, “Are you talking about me?” the ladies burst into laughter and replied, “Oh yes! How did you know?” I was delighted beyond measure. The problem with engaging random people in public is that you never know what might happen. They weren’t done with me yet. I had met my match. They continued with a few more cajoling comments. “Oh yeah, he’s so fine.” And then, all the while invitingly laughing, “Looky there, I believe that boy gained a little pep in his step!” and her friend replied, “I do believe he is fully an inch taller!” And my family joined in their laughter. My work there was done.
img_4865The next engagement I subjected my family to on this day did not go so well. An innocent enough, “Hey, how ya doing?” was met with an all-out profane and manic diatribe about all the racists up around here and that he wasn’t gonna take it anymore. He continued to tell us he was going to kill some people if things did not change. Ya know… I didn’t really know what to do with that. Naturally the first thing I did was make sure I was between this man and my wife but I didn’t know what to say. I’m not sure that saying anything wouldn’t have made things worse. My daughter eventually asked the man to have a good day and we continued about our way. An awkward silence weighed heavy among us.
This man was in obvious pain. I could see it in his eyes. Perhaps there was nothing that could be done, by me, for this man. Maybe there was. My assumption is that professional mental health services were required. At the time the volatility of this man motivated me to separate him from my family.img_4867
Today the memory of the look in the eyes of that man haunts me. I know that I can’t personally take on the challenge of every suffering soul in the city. And yet I worry about how that understanding, that there was nothing I was willing to do at that moment, might cause me to do less than I could. Less than I should. People are talking a lot of being “woke” these days. I have some skills that can be employed to hopefully ease the burden some at risk people may face on a daily basis. It’s time to find a cause and put some time and treasure back into my community. This being an extrovert can be a lot of work.

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