My Grand-girls, Syd & Perri, bought me a daily Grandmas & Grandpas calendar for Christmas last year. It has sat on my downstairs desk all year and has blessed me with some of its daily writings. The one for yesterday, Dec. 21, says this:
"The holidays are upon us and frantic grandparents everywhere are trying to finish up shopping, cooking, and planning. But all the planning in the world may not ensure that the holidays come off stress-free and enjoyable. Hanoch McCarty, co-author of Chicken Soup for the Grandparent's Soul, said he and his wife Meladee began to see the holidays as a set of chores, tasks, and obligations rather than an opportunity to be with and enjoy family. He realized that to get what he really wanted from the holidays would require a change in behavior. "I saw that being hurried, impatient, and quick to judge were not very likely to get the closeness I craved," said Hanoch. "It was the being, rather than the doing, which would bring me closer to all my family ... We do a little thinking, just before folks arrive, about how we want to be when they're here. Somehow, a more genuine smile comes to our faces as we open the door."
I found this to be uplifting, inspiring and a load-lifter. What difference might be made for ourselves, our families, our friends, if we gave serious thought to how we want to BE with ourselves and others and then BE that?
Don't know about you, but I want folks to see Jesus in me. I want them to know there's something different, a godly difference from other people they know. I want them to feel loved, accepted and cherished for who they are. I want to enjoy time with them, not feel as if we have to keep to such a rigid schedule that we break rather than bend. I want to laugh and smile because I mean it, not just to be polite.
I want those who enter our home, not just for Christmas dinner, but every day, to leave here with the knowledge they are appreciated and loved and are seen as gifts from God, for they surely are. Even those we don't get along with too well are gifts. I've sadly not always seen people in that light and acted accordingly ... they're a bore, they get on my nerves, they're taking up valuable time that I could be doing something else ... something worthwhile. Give me a break from me! As Sara says from time to time, I need to get over myself!
May each of us take the time to sincerely contemplate how we want to BE around those we love/like on Christmas day. May we take the time to also consider how they are perceiving us.