After a year that could most kindly be called a rollercoaster, we can see the end in sight. Not only of the calendar year, but with vaccines being shipped to healthcare facilities around the world, …
After a year that could most kindly be called a rollercoaster, we can see the end in sight. Not only of the calendar year, but with vaccines being shipped to healthcare facilities around the world, maybe an end to the pandemic as well.
Without discounting those ideals Americans hold dear — political integrity, justice for every citizen, lifting up the least among us — we have learned to treasure the things that perhaps in the past were taken for granted. Things like Sunday dinner with extended family, coming and going as we please, popping into our favorite shops for a bit of browsing or a cup of coffee. To say the least, this year has been a wake up call.
So it is as we enter Christmas week, maybe we can focus on less while having more. Less emphasis on what’s under the tree and more on who is gathered around it, whether we are lucky enough to have those loved ones there in person or we see them virtually. Less on what we have and more on what we can share, because no matter the situation, there is always someone nearby who needs whatever support we can give. It doesn’t matter if that support is paying for four carts of goods destined for senior citizens in need or donating blood. A gift freely given, no matter the price, is still a gift.
Which brings us to the best gift received at this — or any — time of year. The gift of forgiveness, whether we accept it as grace from heaven or extend it to others who have transgressed against us. Forgiveness is a cornerstone of almost every major religion on Earth.
With that forgiveness, accepted or extended, comes peace that surpasses all understanding. It wrests away the fallacy of believing we are in control and can force our own will on our — or others’ — situation. We cannot control much, another lesson brought home in this soon-to-be-over year. We can’t control who is well and who is not, although we can exercise caution and do our best. We cannot control, beyond our votes, the leaders of our county, state, nation. We cannot control the behavior of others, whether they decide to set neighborhoods on fire, wear a mask or take a vaccine.
But we can let their behaviors, their actions, their beliefs be their own and make peace with what we cannot change. We can let go of what we cannot change. That, too, is a forgiveness, a grace of sorts.
In this holiday season, make it a point to inundate those we love with love, make the memories about togetherness and sharing, instead of gifts, because we don’t know what the future holds. Let go of the anger, fear and discord that has accompanied this year of insanity and instead embrace peace and forgiveness with grace and dignity.
Let that peace, that grace, be the gift you give yourself, your family and your community this year.