This Christmas give somebody the gift of mercy and forgiveness. Actually be broad with your giving and generous. We all need a lot of both. For such a joyful holiday of cheer, giving and yuletide merriment there are certainly a lot of stressed out sourpuss faces and agitated people. If you haven't seen any of these you probably haven't been to the mall or busy shopping districts. People get tense over decorating, shopping, spending, and fitting into their schedules all the jolly dinners, gatherings and religious services. You may have watched Chevy Chase in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. He becomes over the top stressed out when his Christmas lights don't work and literally kicks, stomps and curses a blue streak across his yard. It's a funny scene. Mostly because in some way we've all been there a time or two.
We go crazy at Christmas. Everything is totally and abnormally different from the rest of the year. We spend money, eat, cook, travel and over schedule more than any other time of the year. By the time Dec. 26 rolls around we're sick of Christmas. We start making a list of New Year's resolutions that include never doing some of the stuff ever again that we did at Christmas! By the time the next Christmas rolls around we do it all over again and often worse than the year before. We promise and swear we are going to do things differently but as long as we are able we do it over and again.
Most of us enjoy giving if we can. We enjoy giving to the people we love. Christmas trees, decorating, eating and gatherings are all a part of the season. However, we become frustrated when we lose sight of the big picture. The big picture includes looking around and beyond our Christmas pain. Millions of people would simply be thrilled to have the problems that some of us have. Many people are in the nursing home and will never go to the mall again. Some have a terminal disease and this may be their last Christmas. Others would simply love to have a house to decorate or someone for to buy a gift.
Celebrate Christmas this year. Give away some special gifts. Give gifts that money can't buy or time cannot fade. Give love, give forgiveness and give some mercy. Extend these generously to yourself. If you can't give them to yourself it's impossible to give them to others. The little baby that Christmas celebrates became a man and taught people that we should love God and love others as we love ourselves. Herein is part of the rub. Too often people stop loving themselves. Life becomes imperfect, we fail, get hurt or mad and we kick Santa or the reindeer across the yard. Unfortunately we stop there. We go into Ebenezer Scrooge bah humbug mode. We don't get our groove back and miss out on some of Christmas' most wonderful characteristics- mercy and forgiveness. The Christmas story is about a child who came to show us the way. He showed us how to love, forgive and be merciful. Some of the people in your life probably need it more than you know. Give generously and start with yourself.
Dr. Glenn Mollette is a syndicated American columnist and author. He is read in all 50 states. The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily representative of this publication.