This evening has given me yet a few more opportunities for reflection, mostly on myself and the attitudes I have that I am seeking to change. Fortunately, this evening’s opportunities were largely positive, for which I am exceedingly grateful.
I was on MySpace earlier filling out a survey (yes, another!!) about Christmas. The last question was about what bothers me about this time of year. My friend Gabi had mentioned commercialism, which is definitely a serious bother of mine, especially with a husband in retail. I *almost* answered “people who say ‘Happy Holidays’ when they mean ‘Merry Christmas’ ” too, but after I thought about it for a minute, decided to leave it off. Last year – or was it the year before? – I remember being in a definite rant against the whole “Happy Holidays” thing, being angry that people weren’t acknowledging Christmas, that people were protesting public Nativity displays, and on and on.
Later this evening I got an email from my mother-in-law, giving a different perspective. Would there be a need for a public Nativity display if more Christians put a Nativity in their own yards? Why are all the displays of Santa and snowmen? I still think the term “holiday tree” is stupid, but God did create all trees, after all. His presence can be found anywhere and everywhere, if we just look. I suppose a “Happy Holidays” greeting is better than being ignored or sworn at. And of course, I usually wish folks a “Merry Christmas” in return, which honestly is really all I can do for now. At the risk of sounding self-centered, I need to refocus my energies on myself and on being a source of positive energy and love for others, rather than focusing on negativity and creating discord in a search for what is “right” for anybody else but me. God finds us all in His own way; I have to let that happen on its own terms, not stand in the way.
The second moment happened this evening during choir practice. Now I will admit, I was being a bit uncharitable in my mind, though I *was* trying to fight it. This Sunday’s anthem has a beautiful solo I had had my eye on. After all, I am one of the most regular attendees in choir, and the director has made no secret of how much he relies on me there. Plus I love to sing solos, even though I haven’t for some time. So I was hoping I will get this one. I didn’t. My friend Anna did and she did such a lovely job during rehearsal. As she sang, I was fighting like mad to keep envy at bay, and was rather annoyed at myself for being this petty. I got over it eventually and the rehearsal continued.
I stopped my friend afterwards and gave her a sincere compliment on her singing, which really was so nice to listen to. Plus I was kind of pushing myself to get past the whole jealousy thing. Her response to me was kind of stunning; she thanked me profusely and told me my compliment meant a lot to her because ever since she first joined the choir and heard me sing a solo for the first time, she had admired my voice and had wanted to sing like me. To say I was humbled is a profound understatement.
I haven’t yet reaped the full benefit of my experiences from this evening, but I have begun to. Changes in me continue, as always. And I am encouraged by the direction in which I am growing. And grateful, of course.