What do you wish for this Christmas?
I guess this question is a pretty easy one these days, when you consider all that the world is dealing with at the end of 2021. We really thought we would be done with the pandemic by now, and we are bracing for another lockdown; I assumed we would have world peace by now, considering how often it is requested in prayers; and then there is all that climate stuff…
“I hope we can be back to gathering in person in just a few weeks. No later than Easter!”
That was my naïve and hopeful prediction to my church back in early Spring 2020. Little did we know that we were in for the long haul. By the Summer, people had the idea that we may be in the clear once again. And then, the Fall came. We really have not looked back since that time as we go through different levels of lockdowns, new health protocols, and try to discern how we should plan for the next season.
People have re-aligned many habits. We hear much about the ‘Great Resignation’ as many workers are now looking at how they would like to design their lives around their values and priorities. A whole generation of kids are growing into a place where this is just the way life is because they have not known it any other way. And everyone has an opinion on vaccinations and how they would like society to move forward.
Being a good neighbour has not come easily. It never has. I guess that is why Jesus said that this was and is the 2nd most important commandment in the Bible. Not because it is a clearly set out rule for living, or something we can define for the workplace, or even tell someone what it means in an ‘elevator pitch’. It is something you experience, you do, you feel, you know; and it usually pushes hard against your personal wants in some way. To love someone, just like you would like to be loved.
At the end of 1 Corinthians 13, often called the ‘love chapter’ of the Bible, we have 3 simple words that seem to sum up for what community should be known.
Faith. Hope. Love. And the greatest of these is love.
We struggle to define what we expect from other people in being in close proximity to us, get offended when they cross the line, and hope they will forgive us when we do the same. We get polarized when we try to keep people at a philosophical distance, usually through things like social media, or using ‘them’ language. It seems safer that way. But the more we separate, the further we distance ourselves, the more ugly we try to make the other person, the more unsafe we feel. Funny, a wall built against someone is supposed to make me feel safer, but it often makes me wonder if I am keeping ‘them’ out in other ways.
Those 3 simple words above drive so much of how we seek harmony with the ‘others’ in our lives, how we find and define peace within ourselves, and how we work to make everyone into a neighbour, to the best of our ability. Believe it or not, those 3 little words are the centre of the coaching and evaluation material I use and continue to refine for my work in Lead Freely. Our purpose is an expression of faith, our joy is rooted in having hope, and our measure of care always comes back to our attempt at love. And love is the greatest; if I do not show love, I will have a hard time receiving it or even finding it.
So my wish this Christmas? That you find your roots in those 3 simple words: Faith, Hope, Love. And that 2022 changes for you because of them, regardless of the circumstances you are in.