“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 13:35

A couple of weeks ago we paid honor and laid to rest our forty-first president, George H.W. Bush.  In 1988 when he received his party’s nomination for president of the United States, he called for “a kinder, gentler nation” in his acceptance speech.  Fast forward 30 years, and we are aware that we now live in a nation that has lost sight of what the words kinder and gentler actually mean.  Hatred and violence have become the norm for America.

However, I have noticed a bit of an improvement in some attitudes as we have approached Christmas.  People are talking to one another more as we stand in seemingly endless checkout lines.  I hear the words “Merry Christmas” shared between strangers.  The other day Reid and I were in the checkout line at the grocery store.  The woman in front of us was purchasing several bottles of wine for a party she was having.  We entered into a conversation with her about the best wines, and she ended up insisting we take one of her bottles as a gift to try.  How kind, and I might add it was very good. 

So why do we hear a little more affection toward one another this time of year?  Why do we observe a little extra spring in people’s steps?  Why do we receive more smiles from people in December than we do in July?  There seems to be something about Christmas that lightens our countenance and softens our hearts.

I believe it is because Christmas is centered around the birth of Jesus Christ.  Even if people take him out of their celebrations, he is still very real and near.  Atheist, agnostic, or believer, we must admit that he affects our lives this time of year.  Christ embodied all the good attributes we need in order to show love to one another.  He was compassionate (Matthew 9:36).  He had a servant’s attitude (Mark 10:45).  He had a gentle spirit (Matthew 11:29).

We truly can be a kinder gentler nation, if we are willing to lay down our arrows of hatred, zip up our accusing tongues, and put away our pointing fingers.  Jesus Christ’s Spirit wants to be present in us every day of every season.

Keep Christ at the heart of your Christmas celebrations.  He truly is the reason for the season.