I have been asked to contribute a weekly column to our local newspaper, The Nebraska City NewsPress, my goal is that people are reminded that they are loved, they are not alone, and that we can do positive things together as a community. Here is this week’s column, it’s called “Happy Holidays”.
It’s all just rather tiring isn’t it?
I’ll be honest with you I don’t have the energy to get worked up over whether or not you say “Merry Christmas” to me. The “war on Christmas” is drummed up outrage to keep us distracted from the real issues in our world and in our communities.
Did you know there were hundreds of families and kids who go hungry in Otoe County every day? Did you know that there are elderly folks in Otoe County who no one will visit this holiday season? Did you know there were veterans living here in Otoe County that feel left out and left behind? Did you know that for quiet a few people the holidays are the loneliest time of year and the grief they feel is magnified by the joy others feel? Did you know that there are people right here in Nebraska City who can’t afford to heat their houses?
I read a quote from author, Steve Maraboli, the other day it said,
“Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you.”
So instead of yelling at the cashier because they didn’t say the right thing to you, or talking to the manager about how there isn’t a Christmas tree in the window of their store, or there is one, or writing a letter to the editor about what a heathen place we live in and if we only said the word Jesus more we’d be better off; just stop, take a deep breath, and go about your day.
Every time you get angry that about some perceived “war on Christmas” or you even hear the phrase, “war on Christmas” I want you to put some coins in a jar, or a dollar bill, or some amount of money. At the end of the season I want you to take that all the money you’ve put away and I want you to give it to the charity of your choice.
Steve Maraboli reminds us of the story that was told by the one that Christians celebrate this season. The call that every time you clothed the naked, fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, and visited the prisoner you did so for Jesus the Christ.
I don’t believe Jesus wanted us to yell at cashiers who were just doing their job, I don’t think that’s a good model for our children who watch how stressed we become over the holiday season.
I do think that Jesus called us to love our neighbors as ourselves, even if our neighbors do things differently. I do think that Jesus called us to help those in need. In our world, our county, and our city there are plenty of people in need.
Maybe if we focused our energy on helping those in need rather than worrying what words they use to greet us, we might be able to actually do what Jesus asked of us.
One last quote that I thought was helpful (and a little funny):
“Being an atheist is okay.
Being an atheist and shaming religions and spirituality as silly and not real is not okay.
Being a Christian is okay.
Being homophobic, misogynistic, racist, or otherwise hateful person in the name of Christianity is not okay.
Being is a reindeer is okay.
Bullying and excluding another reindeer because he has a shiny red nose is not okay.”
At dinner every night, my family goes around the table and shares their high points and low points of the day. We call it “Favorite” and “Not Favorite”. Here are my “Favorites” and “Not Favorites” of the week.
Favorite: My in-laws came to visit and we had a blast celebrating all our holidays in one week.
Not Favorite: Faux outrage over unimportant things.