‘One day to go’, so says the Christmas countdown that my youngest has been turning over religiously each morning. One day before the noise, and the mayhem, and the laughter, and the arguments, and the tears.
Because Christmas does not magically make us exempt from those things. It is a day just like any other, and we are just as human at Christmas as on any other day.
And it is so easy to get caught in the moment on Christmas day and react. To react with a barbed comment or a harsh retort, even to say something unthinkingly, that later you will regret.
So it helps if we remember to slow. To take some time, to take a deep breath, and to think about our reactions, and be generous.
Generous is defined in the dictionary as:
1. showing a readiness to give more of something, especially money, than is strictly necessary or expected.
2. showing kindness towards others.
3. (of a thing) larger or more plentiful than is usual or necessary.
What if, this Christmas we gave more than is necessary, not in gifts or money but in those intangible but most important of attributes?
If this Christmas we are generous with our forgiveness, with our tolerance, and with our respect.
If this Christmas we are generous with our assumptions, with our words, and with our apologies.
If this Christmas we are generous with our kindness, with our selflessness, and with our comfort.
This generosity brings with it the benefit of being present, and enjoying the day, rather than thinking about how we expect our day to unfold.
Brené Brown highlights this benefit of generosity when she quotes her husband Steve, in her book Rising Strong:
All I know is that my life is better when I assume people are doing their best. It keeps me out of judgement and lets me focus on what is, and not what should, or could be.
Give the gift of generosity this Christmas, by believing the best of people and giving them the grace to be themselves. And don’t forget to extend that generosity to yourself.
May you have a grace-filled Christmas,