Upon waking up at 7:45 a.m. yesterday, instead of my usual ‘Good morning’ greeting to my wife, I simply said, “I’m gonna throw up.” And I did. Unfortunately, that set the stage for a less-than-ideal holiday. The kids enjoyed opening their presents and seeing the things that Santa brought. Michelle cooked up a coffee cake, a fresh batch of party mix, and a birthday cake for Jesus — which, as it turns out, I was really not able to eat.
I’d have given anything to have felt better on Christmas Day because I really wanted to enjoy my family to the fullest extent possible. Since we had no family or friends visiting, in spite of all the decorations and preparations, Christmas became just another opportunity for Michelle to singlehandedly parent the children — while I lay in bed, just trying to stay warm.
Of course, perspective is important and, I think, key to understanding life. The reality is that despite my sickness, we are still among the most blessed people in the world. Consider this:
- While we were enjoying our traditional minestrone soup on Christmas Eve, millions of people around the world went to bed hungry. Again.
- While we were opening an exorbitant number of gifts, all beautifully wrapped, millions of people around the world had nothing at all to open.
- While we were contemplating whether to keep or exchange that less-than-fashionable piece of clothing, millions of people around the world struggled to stay warm.
- While we were reading the Christmas story from the Bible, millions of people around the world had never held a Bible.
- While we were in our comfortable, climate-controlled and elaborately decorated homes, millions of people around the world were among the growing homeless population.
The truth is that most Americans do not just live in excess; we are absolutely spoiled rotten. The other truth is that, if I’m totally honest, I usually don’t see the vast needs of others in the world — because I choose to not see it.
It’s not comfortable.
It’s not real.
As I think forward to the year 2011, I am determined to look at the vastness of needs around me. I’m determined to lead my own family to leave their comfort zone and be part of the solution to the problems in this world. I’m determined to be less focused on my needs, my wants, and my comfort, and to focus more on the many practical needs of others.
More than festive, lighted decorations . . . more than a five-star Christmas dinner . . . more than pausing just for a few minutes to think about Jesus’ birth, it is following Christ’s example of humility and selflessness that most glorifies Him — not only at Christmastime but throughout our lifetime.
So, rather than harping on the fact that I was sick on Christmas Day, I choose to thank God that I had a warm place to stay, food to eat, a Bible to read, and a family to love.
I am blessed among men in more ways than I could ever begin to count. And I choose to be grateful for His blessings on me and my family.
It’s Your Turn!
On what things in life do you perhaps need a new perspective?