By DR. GLENN MOLLETTE
December is here and for many Americans that often means craziness.
There is so much to do!
Decorating - Do you put lights outside your house? Outside decorating can mean most anything from a wreath on the door to lights hanging from the gutters, covering the bushes and adorning all your outside trees. If you’ve watched Christmas Vacation and most people have then you know outside decorating can become intense.
Grocery Shopping - Cooking Americans know the workload involved in preparing for a Christmas meal but also the other days of the month. Family coming in early or stopping by normally invokes the call for extra cookies and snacks around the house. How many trips can any good soul make to the store in a month? The aisles of the stores and checkout lines can be tedious this time of year. Beware and don’t wreck your grocery cart while hurrying to get through the check out!
Buying gifts - Obviously America’s stores count on Christmas holidays to financially see them through the year. Christmas spending is a big chunk of your local mall’s budget each year. Most Americans enjoy giving but common sense should always be employed. Don’t overdo it. Don’t break the bank giving stuff to people who may not need what you are buying. Even if they may need it you should only give what you can afford. Don’t buy on a credit card that might take you a year to repay the debt.
Go For Quality - Quality time seems to have vanished in the modern age. We have more communication technology than before and less communication. We can email, text message, face time, Skype, email, post on social media and then of course there are cell phones and old fashioned mail and landline phones still exist. Yet, people are talking less and visiting less than ever it seems. There is only so much of you to go around but try to find some meaningful moments with the real people in your life. Real talking one on one and doing something together with family or close friends are Christmas moments usually remembered.
Charitable Giving - You have plenty of places to give your money. Your church, Salvation Army and many other places appreciate your gifts. Try to remember giving to those people who are all around you that are working to serve you. Give something to the person who carries your groceries to the car. Give a little extra to the kind restaurant waiter. Give something extra to the person who styles or cuts your hair. There are people who may serve you in various ways throughout the year and are struggling to make a living. Remember these people. We give often to needs and crisis that are across the ocean or are in another town and we should help others. Help those who are right under your nose, trying so hard to just survive.
Celebrate the meaning of Christmas. The world has defined Christmas a lot of different ways. Regardless, it’s still the day billions on the planet celebrate the birth of Jesus. During this season of the year please find time to take a closer look at the baby in the manger that Christians around the globe celebrate. The world is desperate for some real peace on earth. We need calm on the planet and in the hearts of the people. With so much war, terrorism, poverty, violence in every American town, broken homes and broken lives could we not all benefit from the message of the Biblical story? Upon the birth of Christ the heavenly host declared, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Peace and good will ... now there is something we can all give and use.
Dr. Glenn Mollette is President of Newburgh Theological Seminary, Newburgh, Indiana and his syndicated column is read in all 50 states.