“Bless us Lord, this Christmas with quietness of mind. Teach us to be patient and always to be kind.” ~ Helen Steiner Rice
Patience and kindness are hallmarks of many a young person. Let me clarify. Patience and kindness are hallmarks of many a young person two to three weeks before Christmas. They are patient and kind so as to sweeten the chances of getting what they want for Christmas. You know the drill. We all did that when we were young. The closer Christmas got, the nicer we behaved, hoping that our niceness would wipe away all the offenses of the previous months.
However, once Christmas had arrived and gifts were exchanged, all bets were off. We would often return to our former behavior until late November the next year. And on. And on.
Rice’s prayer of petition is timely and to the point: “Bless us Lord, this Christmas with quietness of mind. Teach us to be patient and always to be kind.” Patience and kindness should be the hallmark of a Christian every day and not just two weeks before Christmas. Each year, we should become more patient and more kind as more and more Christmas quietness of mind comes into our lives.
Christmas is more than a day. Christmas is more than a lifestyle. Christmas is more than a spirit of sorts. Christmas, rather, is a complex reality, a binding of ourselves to God in a unique and intimate way that changes us subtly and, at the same time, radically.
When people ask us if anything is different about us, we should be able to say, “Yes. I have drawn closer to God and, in doing so, have come to understand and embrace His love for me.” When we allow Christmas to touch us on that level, we become different and that primes us for the next Christmas, the Christmas after that, and down the line until we enter eternity.
The celebration of the birthday of Jesus Christ was a reminder of the day that we will be born into eternity. We prepare for that by allowing Christmas to change us, shape us, and make us new.
FAITH ACTION: Live the Spirit of Christmas in all that you say and do today.