I am a Christian. When I say that, it means I keep trying to be and think like Christ. He got angry at religious hypocrites, loved all people, but hated their sin. He did not care what you thought of him when he hung out with otherwise rejected people. Unlike Christ, I am not successful at doing everything right, but that does not mean I do everything wrong either. The biggest challenge is recognizing when I have done wrong so that I can change it. I don’t like how criticism feels at times, but I welcome it. Respect demands listening with consideration.
There is a movement of “Angry Militant Internet Christians” who would like to coerce me into thinking that there is a “War on Christmas” and so I should not smile and greet those who greet me with a “happy holidays” cordially, but should instead be insulted that they have omitted the name of Christ on our sacred holy day. Perhaps I should reply with a snarky, “Merry Baby-Jesus-Christ-mas to you, fine heathen!” Because that would show the love and intentions of the Prince of Peace himself, yes? No.
Maybe there are politically charged folks out there just looking to debate everyone and slam the beliefs and practices of others. I just don’t want to join them. It is too easy to get all wrapped up in that sort of thinking, and makes peacefully relating to everyone else entirely too difficult.
I was reading in the news about Congress and The President who are in a time sensitive standoff about what sort of compromise can be had to avert the impending ‘fiscal cliff’ (that refers to hitting the debt limit of the United States while spending continues to rise). When nobody respects each other, everyone suffers.
Foreign policy around the world has a similar set of issues. Countries go to war, terrorists attack, sanctions and tariffs are levied. Generally because someone else has what they want, is benefiting unfairly, or is not playing by the rules the other party made up. Selfishness encourages more selfishness.
One day when Angry Militant Internet Christians have lost their “War on Christmas” and used up all their remaining grandfathered influence on society, they will be humbled outcasts in need of undeserved respect and acceptance from those who are inspired to love unconditionally and inspire others to do the same, just as Jesus did.
During this season of giving, think about how to be generous not just with your money toward family and friends, but also be generous with your gratitude, be generous with your willingness to love those who call you an enemy, and be generous with respect towards those who think differently than you do.
Merry Baby-Jesus-Christ-mas, my friends.
And have a happy new year as well!