You don’t have to hang around me very long to know that I do love Christmas so very much.
Truth be told, I have a hard time understanding why anyone wouldn’t…
…the music, mistletoe, bright lights on perfectly shaped trees, funny/beautiful yards, Santa, dazzling gifts, welcoming wreaths, good-natured holiday movies (Die Hard notwithstanding), and so on.
Yet, it seems to me, that very many people participate in Christmas but really don’t like it at all. I base this opinion on people watching in three simple settings:
- mall parking lots
- superstore checkout counters, and
- requisite office parties
Simply put, some people go plum crazy (certifiably!) this time of year in those kinds of settings. It’s like they totally forget who they are or that anyone else truly exists or matters in the world.
In the moment…
- that parking space – only 3 spaces closer to the door than the next one – becomes a win/lose battle for world domination over a driver they have never met before
- the checkout clerk becomes a tyrant who lives only to cheat you out of a .25 coupon on a $50 purchase, and
- the people you work with every day become arch enemies of comic book proportion in a battle for the attention of the overlord you call ‘boss’
Reality gets lost in a surreal fantasy universe where it is ‘me against the world’… to be right, best, tops, winner, greatest gift-giver – this is what it’s all about!
Yet, for those of us who follow the One whose birth we celebrate at Christmas, maybe there’s more to it than just being ‘right’ or best.
One of the guys I learn from every month is Dr. Keith Webb. Keith is a Professional Certified Coach and author of The COACH Model for Christian Leaders.
In a recent blog he raised the question, “How are you right?”
His point seemed so timely that, with permission, I wanted to publish it here:
How you are ‘right’ is more important than being ‘right’.
Early in my marriage, my wife and I were arguing about something. We each thought we were right. I was right. Finally, after a bit of a verbal battle, I won. She reluctantly admitted that I was right. Victory!
But I still slept on the sofa that night. This is when I learned the difference between “being right” and “how I am right”.
“Being right” is a matter of facts. It’s the right answer, statistic, or information. It can be fact-checked on the Internet. Facts are cold and emotion-less.
“How I am right” is a matter of opinion. It’s about the social interaction that takes place during the conversation (or argument). It’s about the tone of voice, body language and attitudes I demonstrate. These things generate a lot of emotions.
I’m reminded of Philippians 2, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard [others] as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus…”
How will I be right in humility? With kindness? With respect?
The challenge I received from Keith’s post – and offer to you for these days is this: As you drive about mall parking lots, wait in superstore checkout lines, and attend those obligatory parties, push past the facts and see the emotions around you and within you.
Give attention to them.
Embrace the example of the Christ of Christmas who, though “He had equal status with God [He] didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges….” (Philippians 2: 5-8, –the message)
Push past the facts. At least sometimes (maybe, these times) remember that “How you are ‘right’ is more important than being ‘right’.”