Choosing Kindness in the Midst of Madness

We’ve all experienced it this time of year — rude wait staff, ridiculous crowds, angry drivers, and clerks who clearly wish we’d choose to do our last minute Christmas shopping anywhere else. 

What gives? Why are people so horrid at Christmas? 

Stress…is the easy answer. The mere thought of how much work I need to do to get ready for Christmas dinner is overwhelming. Add to that the guilt that our entire family won’t be together for Christmas this year. My blood pressure goes through the roof just thinking about it. I still have to retrieve our daughter’s gifts from the friend who stashed them for me, wrap them, and…whew! See what I did there? 

It’s easy to get spun up over little things, isn’t it? They really are little things, but these days, we’re so busy it doesn’t take much. 

I think the real answer to my question goes much deeper, though. I don’t know about you, but it was easier to feel Christmas joy when I was a kid. Those were simpler times. Now? It’s a choice. 

Pshhh, you’re thinking. A choice? Seriously? You should’ve gone to Costco with me this weekend! 

I know…but I am serious. Remember that obviously exhausted sales clerk who smiled and asked how you were doing last week as you bought those last few Christmas gifts? I’m pretty sure she didn’t feel like smiling, and maybe she didn’t really care a whole lot about how you were doing, either, but consider how her kindness made you feel. 

What about that lady you held the door for, who turned and thanked you instead of scowling? 

I know how I felt when a guy stopped traffic last week in the pouring rain so I could cross the street in front of him to avoid getting soaked. 

It’s not difficult to let the busyness of this season overwhelm us, turning us into the meme a friend posted a few days ago. It was a split picture, one of a dinosaur from Jurassic Park viciously bearing its teeth, slobbering, attacking another animal. The caption: mom while she’s cooking Christmas dinner. The other half had a cute picture of the purple, smiling dinosaur named Barney kids in the 90’s and early 2000’s loved. Below it, the caption read: mom when company arrives. I laughed way too hard at that — because you and I both know, it’s true. 

Life is hard. Many of us have suffered unimaginable loss, even in the last few weeks. With rising inflation, our money isn’t stretching nearly as far as it was even a year ago, so maybe for your family, bills are mounting. Maybe you’re struggling physically, or work has you overwhelmed. Whatever the reason for the stress, it’s real — that part’s undeniable. 

But how we respond to it is a choice

So, choose kindness. It costs nothing, and might just mean the world to the person on the receiving end. 

Be a blessing. 

Are you alone this Christmas? Find someone else who is, and seize the opportunity. 

Too much to do? Ask for help. Choose humility instead of lashing out at the people you love. 

Suffering through loss? Oh, my friend, I understand this more than most. Take the time to remember. Document those memories if you need to — one day you’ll be glad you did. But most of all, remember to focus on the living. Don’t get so consumed with grief that you forget to be present — those loved ones you’ve lost would want that. 

Most of all, take time this Christmas to pause and reflect on the Reason we celebrate. Our God is not a God of chaos — we aren’t meant to live that way. When we slow down and remember that, it’s much easier to choose to live in a way that honors Him. 

Dive deeper with me into studying the little things we SHOULD be focused on in 2023! Join me on January 17th or 19th for The Life Skills Project — an 8-week interactive Zoom course that focuses on The Little Things: Why You Really Should Sweat the Small Stuff by Andy Andrews. 

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