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This season is filled with adjustments. Like the last minute winterizing of our homes, raking leaves, putting up the Christmas lights, setting up the tree (if you celebrate with one), and buying those well thought-out gifts for your loved ones, just to name a few. When families get together, sometimes there are expectations of memorable moments, hoping, “This year, our family will get along better than ever, and we will build a memory that’s perfect, the one to cherish the rest of our lives.” Hokey mackerel, that’s a lot of pressure to put on a few gatherings! The memories of loving moments now gone, of those who are no longer with us, who have passed from this life or moved on in it, can sometimes evoke feelings of heartache, in those left behind. Unrealized expectations, in family relationships, or progress in career or life, can leave one feeling like they are not measuring up. The losses and confusions of the past, can inject tension at family gatherings. Ironically, during this Season of Thanksgiving, people need all kinds of special consideration, but all too often this goes unaddressed, in lieu of tinsel and twinkle. But what if a loved one, or two, or a whole family has had there fair share of let downs or losses? Be they family changes, losing job security, or health struggles. These can unleash significant strain on those directly effected, or on those close by. Let’s take another look at what this holiday is supposed to be about. Christmas is a commemoration of an unlimited life: Christ’s; one with the capacity to change all strife, inwardly, to a better existence. God came to our world directly, to give the problems in this reality a checkmate. Instead, many have taken this gift of life and laden it with the pursuit of the hyper perfect gift, experience, or image boost, yet He came to bring dignity to all who would receive it. Christ laid aside His Divinity to come as a true human being, removing the oppression of class distinction. He was born to a quaint Jewish couple, who, at the time were without lodging. His first breath was filled with the pungent ammonia of barnyard manure. Let’s say, he could relate to the homeless. He respected civil and religious law, yet enables those who trust in Him to go beyond both, to the motivation they intended to express. Love for ones’ fellow human beings, even to the point of protecting them from themselves, ultimately flows from a true relationship with our Loving God. We could go on and on, to things like anti-ageism, protection of children, healthcare, women’s liberation and gender equality, with respect for family relationships and their vital roles; dignity for the value of every life and it’s healthy function. So many search, within the busyness of the season, for the things that will make up for all the neglect they engender throughout the year. Ironically, this time could be used to lay aside wounds and grudges, to let go of guilt and “told-you-so’s”, and the intolerance of weakness, to give everyone a break. This is an opportunity to spend real time together; no rush, no agenda, no schedule or pressure, just grace upon grace. This season, before we gather with family and friends, let’s prepare our hearts to spend time, infused with genuine warmth not just clock watching, or toe tapping tolerance, lets be ready to offer listening ears, words of trust and hope, helping hands, gentle, appropriate touch, and real consideration of another’s condition or circumstances. Maybe, be the kindness we needed someone to be to us, even if that never happened; let’s spread it around! And when you’re out there, and see someone in the cold, offer them a sandwich, a warm cup of tea, some conversation, and maybe give them a ride to a safe place to stay. What’s in it for you? The rewards are not the issue, but the gift is way more than you think you’re offering, to a life that needs…

Grace. Happy Seasoning.

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