What Christmas Taught Me About Life and Peace
"He puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. Maybe Christmas, he thought... doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps... means a little bit more!"
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
I love this time of year for so many reasons. Out of all the Christmas pasts I have seen, I have had only one Christmas that was a disaster. And I was the cause of the disaster.
It all started with a disagreement and ended with me making a decision that I regretted. When I tell you that making emotional decisions can lead to disaster, it is because I am a poster child for making those kind of decisions.
It all started over a disagreement. I was feeling unappreciated and unheard and I wasn't having it. This one person made me so mad that I decided to boycott the family Christmas dinner.
What did I do instead? I stayed home and had a big pity party. I rehearsed the situation in my head over and over. "How dare they....!" "This sucks!" " "Worst Christmas ever..!"
In the meantime, my phone was blowing up. And I was ignoring it.
"They have the gifts I bought. Let them be happy with that."
The days that followed were tense as I stonewalled my way to prove myself right.
You can be RIGHT or you can be in RELATIONSHIP but you can't be both.
In all of my emotions I had lost the most important thing: connection with the people that I love.
When I look back on it, I think about how silly and immature my "pouting" was. Instead of dealing with the ONE person that was at the source of my anger, I made EVERYONE suffer.
Although the other people at the Christmas dinner were not part of this "disagreement," my actions had pulled them right into the middle of it.
Peace on earth, good will towards men?
It was not a shining moment for me. I look back on it and see it so much differently now.
What I know now that I didn't know then is this: RELATIONSHIPS matter. People matter.
The Christmas narrative reminds us of this: LIFE IS NOT ABOUT ME.
Sure, I can make everything about me. And in the process I will make everyone AROUND me miserable.
As a Christian, I celebrate the birth of the Messiah at Christmas. And the story about God wrapping Himself in flesh to save the world is a narrative in RADICAL and OUTRAGEOUS love for humanity.
The Christmas story is about getting beyond yourself to touch others. Like little Cindy Lou Who did in How the Grinch Stole Christmas. And her reach to love the unlovable and small-hearted Grinch changed him.
It's NOT about me.
A life of service to others is the high calling. Getting outside of our own emotions and letting go of the need to be RIGHT is at the core of a life of love, peace, and joy.
But just as Jesus gave up heaven and the Grinch gave up being alone, we must be willing to give up SELF to pursue RELATIONSHIP.
My bad decision that Christmas served me a life lesson.
It put me on the pathway to understand all of the ways that I make other people pay so I can be right.
When I think about it, it reminds me to step back and see the big picture BEFORE making an emotional decision that I will regret.
And in the end, I learned that choosing peace and serving others is the most important thing of all.
That is the real lesson behind Christmas.
This Christmas, decide that you will give up your right to be RIGHT to pursue peace and relationship. I guarantee you that you will never regret that decision.
Here is how you do it:
Remind yourself that this is NOT about you.
Ask yourself, "What would create peace in this situation?"
Make your decision from a place of love for humanity and pursuit of relationships.
Your reach for relationship with others could be the beginning of a miracle. And the start of your life full of love, peace, and joy.
I am cheering for you every step of the way.