My December To-Do List (It may just kill me)

Maybe it was a pre-emptive strike on the pending holiday season. Maybe it was because I needed some focus to get through the next month without having a hater-induced meltdown. Or maybe it was something entirely different, but the other night I jotted a December “To-Do” list in my journal–not generally what I jot in my journal, simply for the fact that I am NOT a fan of to-do lists. To-do lists often cause undo angst. For example, is there anything on your to-do list right now that will cause the sun not to rise tomorrow if you don’t complete the task? I didn’t think so. The world will not end if your floors are not scrubbed or your holiday baking doesn’t get done. Enough said. Moving on!

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the holiday season, especially since the Christmas ware hit the store shelves (it gets earlier every year) before the Halloween pumpkins were out of the field. The Facebook memes soon followed. It all makes me really uncomfortable mostly because the holiday season brings out the worst in people and society–especially Christians, especially in the United States.

We freak out because somebody says “Happy Holidays” to us instead of “Merry Christmas” yet we walk by homeless people like they don’t exist. We rant and rave about putting “Christ back into Christmas” yet we trample each other, literally, on Black Friday for a deal on something we probably already have 10 of at home. We stuff our faces with food and drink from Thanksgiving until the New Year yet our neighbors go hungry. We sit in church pretending to do unto others yet hateful words directed at those who are different from us spew from our lips, sometimes even while we are still in the pews. To sum it all up, we use Christianity to justify our worst human behaviors and in the process we become self-righteous a@@holes. Merry Christmas everyone!

1450889_10151997335697420_1734855224_n
Yes please!

Eat. Drink. Be Merry.

Spend. Spend. Spend.

Overindulge.

Be self-righteous.

Spew hate.

We proclaim. . . 

“Jesus is the reason for the Season.”

Yet, we fail–time and time again–to serve our fellow man.

We fail to serve others because their of skin color, or because they are gay, or Muslim, or Atheist, or in prison, or an addict, or mentally ill, or homeless, or poor. . . Hate, fear, and ignorance get all jumbled together and before we know it we’re deeply offended because somebody had the audacity to greet us with a Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas yet people all around us are hurting and messed up and we don’t seem to care. Love one another? Sure, as long as you are just like me.

I say its about time we ALL get over ourselves and act the Christians we proclaim to be. After all, it’s easy to buy a cup of coffee for the next person in line at Starbucks but what about buying a cup of coffee for the homeless person standing on the street corner?

You see, from the time the first Christmas light twinkled on a store shelf mid-October to the first meme that reared its ugly head on social media, I have been irritated, frustrated, and angry. I have found myself unfriending, unfollowing, and complaining about anyone that even came remotely close to displaying their self-righteous Christian attitudes and behaviors about anything (and there has been a whole lotta hate spewing around lately), especially Christmas.

Until. . .

I realized that I was being a self-righteous a@@hole towards the self-righteous a@@holes. UGH! I was justifying my self-righteous a@@hole hater behavior with my belief that good Christians don’t act the way the self-righteous a@@hole haters were, so therefore it was okay for me to hate on them.

But wait. . .

That’s really not what being a Christian is all about, is it. Besides, I don’t want to be a hater, even to haters because hate, and fear, and ignorance take up space that could be filled with love, and grace, and kindness. And love, and grace, and kindness are essential to putting Christ back into Christmas. UGH, UGH. Hating haters is so much easier than loving them, or extending grace, or being kind. But then again I don’t remember anyone ever saying being a Christian was supposed to be easy. UGH, UGH, UGH.

As I have said a million times before, when you know better, you do better. Me blogging about self-righteous a@@holes will not change them or put Christ back into Christmas–but me, changing myself? That might make a difference for someone. After all, the only person we can truly ever change anyways is ourself. By making changes in my heart, I can hope that the ripple effects change someone else, and in turn change someone else, and so on, and so on, and so on. . .to infinity and beyond.

When I finally got over myself (which I am pretty good at because I have to do it often) I made my to-do list. My list is short but challenging to me. For those of you that know me well, you know which “dos” on the list will challenge me the most. Some of you will probably snort with laughter like the hub did. You better sit down before you read it.

Anyways, the list went into effect December 1. So far, I’ve been doing pretty good, but it’s early in the month, Christmas is coming, and change is so hard! I have vowed, though, to do the following every day–either until the changes are so ingrained in me that they become innate or until this list kills me. At this point, it could go either way. So, here goes!

This holiday season (drumroll please) I vow to:

  1. DO KINDNESS. Yes, that means to self-righteous a@@holes, to people that are different than me, and to strangers, and to my friends, and to my family, and to myself. Kill ’em with kindness, they say. (Ironically, this may be the one that kills me.)
  2. DO SELF-CARE. For me this means hydrating, drinking green smoothies, running, and trying to get enough sleep. It is only when you practice self-care that you can serve others to the best of your abilities. Putting your mental and physical health needs aside is plain foolishness. You CANNOT take care of anyone else if you choose not to take care of yourself. Don’t be a self-care martyr. Just don’t. Period.
  3. DO GOOD DEEDS. For others, for myself, for the planet, for whatever “doing good” means that day–even if what I need to do makes me uncomfortable. (Like being kind to self-righteous a@@holes.)
  4. DO SPEND WISELY. This means my time and my money. Consequently, I have vowed NOT to buy myself ANYTHING material until the New Year. (That is the part where the hub nearly lost it.) Yes, that means clothes, shoes, purses, makeup, and the like. I have more than enough. I plan to do something good with the saved time and money.

Will my to-do list move mountains and end all the hate in the world? Of course not. Will a trend of actually putting Christ back into Christmas sweep the nation as we all set aside our differences and do unto others? Nope. Not even close. But will my to-do list make me a better person? Yep. Will my to-do list make the world a better place for somebody else? It already has.

P.S. And as an added holiday bonus, there is currently one less self-righteous a@@hole in the world. Well, at least for this holiday season anyways. Maybe to-do lists are good for something after all.

Advertisements

In our weakness, there is peace

33c282f508b7d791af9682b1291613ad

As I was listening to the choir sing a verse of “Silent Night” this morning in church, a tremendous feeling of peace washed over me. It was instantaneous, pretty awesome, and in fact, I swear it felt like the Holy Spirit was thumping me in the forehead and saying, “PEACE, DO YOU GET IT, C’MON!?” I felt myself take a deep, deep breath and just soaking up that amazing moment. In an instant, I was relaxed and just breathing, not something I do very well, ever. I wish I could bottle that feeling because it was I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-E. Then, as if I didn’t really get the message, I came home and read this in an email. . .

“Where is this peace to be found? The answer is clear. In weakness. First of all, in our own weakness, in those places of our hearts where we feel most broken, most insecure, most in agony, most afraid. Why there? Because there, our familiar ways of controlling our world are being stripped away; there we are called to let go from doing much, thinking much, and relying on our self-sufficiency. Right there where we are weakest the peace which is not of this world is hidden.” ~Henry Nouwen

Powerful, powerful words. In our weakness, we find peace. . .  and Lord knows I am weak.

As we hustle and bustle our way through the next couple of weeks of the Christmas season, my wish for you is that you find at least a moment of peace. May you find it through your brokenness, your insecurities, your agony, your “to-d0” list, and your fears. Let it wash over you like a gentle breeze and soak it in. 

Have a Merry and Peaceful Christmas. . .

With Love~