Christmas. The late journalist Harry Reasoner called it a “tremendous burst of gift buying, parties and near hysteria [done in the name of] a quiet event that Christians believe happened a long time ago.” Let’s be people who show kids how to do December with a different attitude.
Attitude #1: Be gracious
If you are a non-Christian — Accept Christmas graciously.
Maybe you have personal history of your deeply held, non-Christian perspective/faith being trampled on by the majority. Perhaps they’ve been insensitive to you since childhood, but you can aim high and wish your fellow citizens all the joys to which their beliefs entitle them.
If you are a Christian — Accept unbelief graciously.
Some Christians feel such a dramatic shock in their heart when others find the birth of Jesus to be irrelevant. You can become angry and lose the capacity to promote peace. Different people have different beliefs and you really can’t expect that everyone should share yours. Aim high and remember that different perspectives are okay.
Attitude #2: Remain composed
If you are a non-Christian — Accept Christmas respectfully.
The Christmas story has a magnificent appeal, Jesus coming as a baby to show what God is like. Most people like babies–if God wanted to be loved, God moved correctly here. If God wanted to be intimate with humankind, God moved correctly, for the experiences of birth and familyhood are among the most intimate and precious experiences.* It just might be easier to remain composed when you focus on this perspective.
If you are a Christian — Accept unbelief respectfully.
The whole story that a virgin was selected by God to bear God’s son as a way of showing love and concern for humanity is not an idea that has been popular, even with some theologians. Remain composed by admitting that it is a somewhat illogical idea and God does not, and you ought not, force anyone to accept it. Instead, focus on loving people as Jesus did.
Attitude #3: Cultivate and feed goodwill
How? A lesson in these excerpts from the poem Anyway by Dr. Kent M. Keith
- People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered. Forgive them anyway.
- If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
- The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow. Do good anyway.
*I’m paraphrasing Harry Reasoner here.
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My new book, Child-centered Spirituality: Helping children develop their own spirituality, is now available on Amazon – just in time for the holidays!
Where did Grandma go when she died?
Why doesn’t God stop bad things from happening?
Many parents have experienced a child asking difficult spiritual questions– usually at inopportune moments. While we stumble around trying to think of an answer, we feel inadequate… and sometimes startled by their questions. If you’re like most adults, you try your hardest to avoid thinking much about questions like these. So why on earth is a child asking you about them?
We talk with our children about the importance of school work, about physical health, about how to navigate social difficulties. We even talk with them about sex, drugs, and internet safety… or if we don’t, we know we should.
So why do we find it so difficult to talk with children about God?
Whether you are a parent, grandparent, teacher, foster parent, or other caregiver, this is a book to help you engage with the children in your life about their spiritual needs.
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