“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men
with whom He is pleased.”
A Christmas letter has this sentence, referring to some things that had not gone quite right: “There have been mistakes—but this is a good time of year to forget them.” That is part of the teaching of Christmas—to forget the mistakes which others have made—to wipe off the slate, the records of any wrongs others may have done us, any injuries they may have inflicted on us. Someone tells of a certain tree in a tropical country which when struck and bruised, bleeds fragrant balsam. So it should be with us when others hurt us—smite us with unkindness—if we bleed, we should bleed love, not anger, not bitterness.
Christmas is a good day to forgive any who in any way have done us harm. Paul’s counsel is not to let the sun do down upon our anger. Surely we should not let the sun of the Christmas Eve, go down on any feeling of anger or bitterness, any grudge or hatred, in our hearts! Everything that is unloving should be swept away as we pray, “Forgive us our debts—as we forgive our debtors.”
We should not forget the word “peace,” in our lesson. “Peace on earth.” We should seek for the things which make for peace. It is easy to misunderstand others, even our dearest friends. One may hold a penny before his eye—so that it will shut out all the beautiful sky, all the blue and all the stars. It is easy, too, to make little offences grow large—as we brood over them, until, held up before our face—they hide whole fields of beauty and good in the lives of our friends!
An unpleasant word is spoken thoughtlessly by someone, and we fret and vex ourselves over it, lying awake all night thinking of it, and by tomorrow it has grown into what seems an unpardonable wrong that our friend has committed against us! But Christ’s way is different—he turns the other cheek. He forgives, he forgets, he blots out the record—and goes on loving just as before—as if nothing had happened!
The Christmas spirit teaches us to deal in the same way with those who injure us. Life is too short to mind such hurts, which ofttimes are as much woundings of our own pride or self-esteem—as real injuries to us. In any case, heavenly love ignores them. One says, “The hurts of friendship, of social life, of household familiarity—must be ignored, gotten over, forgotten—as are the hurts, the wounds, the bruises, the scratches of briers or thorns on our bodies!”
If we would make it really Christmas in our own hearts—we must learn to forget ourselves, and to think of others. We must stop keeping account of what we have done for other people—and begin to put down in place, what other people have done for us. We must cease thinking what others owe to us—and remember what we owe to them; and that we own Christ and the world, the best we have to give to life and love. We must give up chafing about our rights—and begin to rejoice in giving up our rights and doing our duties.
Someone says that the best thing about rights is that they are our own—and we can give them up. We must no longer sit on little thrones and expect people to show us honor, attention, and deference, and to bow down to us and serve us—but, instead, must get down into the lowly places of love and begin to serve others, even the lowliest, in the lowliest ways. That is the way our Master did.
(Taken from- J. R. Miller, Christmas Making, get on amazon here.)
If we would make it really Christmas
in our own hearts—we must learn to
forget ourselves, and to think of others.