As Christmas moves on toward the New Year, I’m thinking about the life I’ve been imagining for 2015 and beyond. It looks like this: a life filled with more generosity and less fear. More patience and less rushing and more appreciation. It boils down to being more like our generous and merciful God and less like my selfish self.
I went shopping for some work clothes today, figuring I’d brave the crowds to save some serious money, which I did. I asked the checkout clerk how her day was today compared with the days before Christmas. She said it was worse and the customers were worse.
She was right — I had just seen the dressing rooms piled with clothes that people hadn’t bothered to put on the “reject” rack. I heard a woman ask the overwhelmed cashier whether an item was available in her size, as if the clerk could leave the long line of customers to search for something the customer could have found herself.
But there were people “living the life they’d imagined,” too. A young woman waited in line to turn in a wallet she had found. Someone else bought a suit of which only the jacket fit, but not the skirt. As she was checking out, she called out, “Is anyone a size 4?” Five customers back, someone said, “I’M a 4!!” The lady gave the lucky size 4 a beautiful black skirt, accompanied by a duplicate receipt that the cashier had printed out for her.
What steps can I take to become more like them in 2015 and less like those who left unwanted clothes on the dressing room floor? I can practice the virtue of justice by seeing things through others’ eyes. I can try to picture the consequences of my actions and motives. I can take responsibility for my actions so they don’t cost other people extra effort or grief.
Acting in a just way increases our dignity and respects the dignity of everyone else. I can’t think of a better way to honor the Christ Child at Christmas and start off the New Year fresh — living the life you’ve imagined!
My Christmas gift to you is the Henry James quotation (downloadable below) to keep you inspired as you start the New Year. May it be the best ever!