GENDUSA COLUMN: Makes perfect sense: Getting ready for the holidays

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, October 27, 2021

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Well, folks, my ears are beginning to hear jingle bells, my nose detects a scent of turkey roasting in the oven, and my eyes are spying Christmas ads. Isn’t it still July? COVID has destroyed my mental calendar. I would say it is age, but nowadays, I blame all things on the virus. The pandemic certainly has provided us an excuse to blame our oft-errant behavior on a spikey menace we can’t even see. Makes perfect sense, right?

Yes, the holidays are just a few weeks away. The last time we saw Thanksgiving Thursday on the calendar was a day when death loomed around every corner and controversy swirled through our nation.  Family gatherings were either small or not at all.  Food was scarce for many, while heartache was plentiful. Businesses were shuttered, people were fearful, and the holidays as we once knew them seemed unattainable.

I pray we never forget the holidays of 2020. May we never see such rage, hopelessness and folks assigning blame again. By now, we should all acknowledge that to enjoy our lives and celebrations, we must shelf our anger. The one sure way not to be grateful is to be hateful.

You know how we all get those controversial emails from friends who adamantly profess one concept or another and try to convince us to do the same? Well, I don’t open them anymore. They just seem needless, tiring, and passe. Do we need to fuel more rancor and divisiveness? Haven’t we endured enough sadness, sickness, and bitterness? I would rather watch a turkey thawing than reading another hate-filled, conspiracy ladened email. If we don’t read such madness, then maybe we won’t be so mad. My son has a ticket to fly home for Christmas. I have seen him only once in two years. I am just grateful that he is still here to see. Many families will never lay eyes on their loved ones again.

Some people fight over vaccines, masks and other so-called “rights,” but there is nothing right about a loved one who died from COVID. There is nothing right about those whose holidays will never be the same again.

If our celebrations are to be filled with joy, then we must produce it. We are the ones responsible for spreading optimism, respect and love. We can no longer blame others or a spikey menace for our misery. We absolutely can make lemonade out of lemons, and we can please God when we do.

Could it be that this is the Christmas we need to give the gift of our hearts? Don’t worry about a present you ordered being stuck on a barge in the ocean. Instead, wrap up kindness and give it to those who need its power. Why not put a bow on compassion and gift it to the child who has lost a parent? Let’s quiet our ugly rhetoric and instead sing a hymn of Thanksgiving.

If our desire is to heal our nation and enjoy our holiday season, it begins in our living rooms. It starts in prayer, in giving, and in celebrating God. If we wish for our children to learn the true meaning of Thanksgiving or Christmas, then we must put aside our own personal agendas and reveal God’s agenda by our actions.

There is much to do to kill all the effects of COVID for good. Our anger will not destroy it, nor will our divide. Nor will untruths, nor folks who profit off conspiracy and controversy. Our personal self-interest and our self-serving beliefs will not ease our future calendars of suffering but will keep us stuck in time.  Let’s move on to a healthier, wiser, less painful tomorrow. We can help each other if we just believe we can. We can lessen the agony the last two years created, and heal the wounds caused by distrust and disagreements. May we, instead, remember those who have suffered so much because of them.