Have Fun at Christmas - December 22, 2018

At this time each year we give much attention Christmas shopping. I think this something we should enjoy doing. Some folks, however, have been brought up on warnings and admonitions every time there is a time of fun. Some Christians don’t know how to have fun, unless it is sprinkled and spiced with guilt. It is as if they must be more serious, thrifty, and concerned about others.

Again we will hear about over-commercializing Christmas, putting Christ back into Christmas, the paganism of the Christmas tree, tinsel as the symbol of superficiality, cash registers as the symbol of what Christmas has become. These may be necessary correctives, perhaps, but we need more of the opposite! We need encouragement to have fun, Let our joy bloom, even be foolishly full of fun, or extravagant. Isn’t that what the heart of Christmas is, namely, “joy to the world”?

I will never forget an incident from our first year of marriage. Linda and I were living in Ann Arbor and our lives became intertwined with a family of desperately poor people — a mother, and four children, all of school age. They lived in abject poverty. They had broken windows, very little money, a sickly mother, and a house that was hardly livable. But when Christmas came, the children had, through odd jobs, accumulated a little money and they invited us to come over on Christmas Day to see the gift they had bought for their mother. They were very excited about it.

So we went to their house, carrying in our minds some vague expectations of what kind of a gift they had bought for her. Perhaps a warm coat, a new purse, or maybe an electric frying pan, or a toaster. Instead we were knocked over with surprise and chagrin. They asked us to close our eyes as they went into the next room to get the gift. Then they brought from behind the curtain the gift. It was a huge stuffed donkey about five feet tall! It must have cost them $25 or $35 (1962). They were thrilled. We were stunned, but acted like we were pleased. (In fact we thought it was a very “stupid” gift. Of all the things she needed, that was the least.)

Still, as we thought about it, there may have been something right in that kind of gift! Here they were in their poverty; hardly anything they could have bought of a practical nature would have changed their status significantly. So why not buy something totally enjoyable, just for the fun and excitement of giving it?

A little of that has to go into the Christmas season. Instead of hand-wringing and furrowed brows about the fun we’re having when there are poor people dying on the other side of town, maybe a little reckless happiness is called for. Christians must be thoughtful and concerned, but there is something bottomless about that pit. There is a time for unrestrained Christmas foolishness, impractical fun! Forget, the shaking fingers and historical surveys about the paganism of the Christmas tree. Enjoy Christmas and have fun! Christ lives!

Relax and enjoy Christmas freely and fully, uncluttered by guilt.

 

 

 

 

Doing the Next Right Thing - December 7, 2018

There is almost always a risk in being a Good Samaritan. To stop by the side of the road, even when there appears to be no physical danger, always includes choosing for one thing and against another. Doing the right thing often requires neglecting something else that may be urgent. That neglect may irritate someone. That neglect may delay something you feel is important.

My Administrative Assistant arrived late one morning, which bothered me. She explained that her nephew was seriously ill and she had stopped to take him some food and encouragement. My slight irritation was unimportant because she was doing the right thing, while neglecting her office job. That is the way it is; you can't really care very extensively without bothering or neglecting something or someone else; at least some of the time. We must make choices.

A popular expression these days is, "do the next right thing." I think what that means is that at this particular moment, you have a choice about something. The next thing you are facing involves a choice. And the choice you make should be the 'right thing.' So the 'next' thing you do should be the 'right' thing.

My Assistant did just that. In the bigger picture, taking care of her nephew was more important than her job. Those words don't sit well with a boss or a manager in the workplace, but they are nevertheless true, as I said, 'in the bigger picture.' So I ask forgiveness for my being bothered at the time — I was obviously in the mindset of the 'workplace'. But I can look back at it now and easily see that she did 'the next right thing.'

 

 

 

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The Science of Smiling (Part 2) November 9, 2018

The Science of Smiling October 26, 2018

Hugging Is Healthy October 12, 2018

Share Your Story. Please! September 28, 2018

Now Is The Time! September 14, 2018

Show Kindness Regularly August 31, 2018

Thanking and Praising the Dental Hygienist August 17, 2018

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People Need to be Allowed to 'Feel' July 20, 2018

How to Help a Friend Face Loss July 6, 2018

Post Office Friends June 22, 2018

Why Do I Say That? June 8, 2018

Are You Contagious? May 25, 2018

We Are Called To Leave Our Comfort Zone May 18, 2018

People Often Gloss Over Our Wounds May 11, 2018

God Needs YOUR Help May 4, 2018

Your Smile Can Heal April 27, 2018

More on Kok's Law April 20, 2018

Kok's Law April 13, 2018

Beware the Infection of Me-ism April 6, 2018

Thank Someone Today March 30, 2018

How Can I Show Up? March 23, 2018

Being Kind to Yourself March 16, 2018

What is Your Kindness Quotient? March 9, 2018

Listening Has Healing Power March 2, 2018

Your Presence Is So Important February 23, 2018

More Things I Forgot February 16, 2018

I Forgot! February 9, 2018

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Focus On People January 26, 2018

These Things Make A Difference January 19, 2018

More Simple, Kind Ideas January 12, 2018

Can You Believe It's So Simple? January 5, 2018

A New Years Resolution: You Can Change The World December 29, 2017

Have Fun At Christmas December 22, 2017

More Acts of Care and Kindness December 15, 2017

Special Acts of Care and Kindness December 8, 2017

Understanding Our Influence Through Prayer December 1, 2017

When you are listening . . . November 24, 2017

Love Is Not A Feeling November 17, 2017

Prayer Sold the House November 10, 2017

This Is Thanks-giving Month November 3, 2017

People Need People October 27, 2017

How To Be Really Alive October 20, 2017

Small and Simple May Be Plenty October 13, 2017

Happiness Is Possible October 6, 2017

Let's Start A New Wave September 29, 2017

Tidbits About Care & Kindness September 22, 2017

Kindness Is Not Kid Stuff September 15, 2017

Don't Just Do Something. Stand There! September 8, 2017

Tips for Being a Good Listener September 1, 2017

Listening is NOT Easy August 25, 2017

God Isn't 'Practical' August 18, 2017

A Parting Gift to An Old Friend August 11, 2017

'Boldness' vs. 'Meekness' August 4, 2017

Meekness Is Not Weakness July 28, 2017

An Extremely Kind Gift July 21, 2017

A Different View of 'Humility' July 14, 2017

Your Smile Can Heal July 7, 2017

This Is SO Important June 30, 2017

I'm Still Reminding You ... June 23, 2017

A Needed Reminder June 16, 2017

It's Easier To Live By Faith If You've Had A Good Night's Sleep June 9, 2017

The Gift of Tears June 2, 2017

Kindness at the Front Door May 26, 2017

Positive Proof About Prayer May 19, 2017

Just Walk With Me May 12, 2017

A Soft Answer Does Turn Away Wrath May 5, 2017

A Compliment Is Manna From Heaven April 28, 2017

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Terrible Circumstances February 17, 2017

You Can Affect the Health of Others February 10, 2017

A Simple Action to Improve Your Health February 4, 2017

Thoughts Generate Chemicals January 27, 2017

The Truth about Kindness January 20, 2017

Disability Builds Faith January 13, 2017

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