A pastor friend of mine once remarked: “There are really only two marks of a Christian in this world: giving and forgiving.” These words were stuck in my head today during the live TV coverage of President George Herbert Walker Bush’s funeral in Washington, D.C. Politics aside (please); as an American, the pomp and circumstance of honoring those who humbly choose to serve our Nation’s highest elected office is something to behold. Furthermore, it is not lost on this a native Texan, who, surrounded by the Bush dynasty throughout my lifetime, has observed their powerfully consistent message through the generations: serve and help others; give and forgive. It is especially telling how President Bush never hesitated to cross party lines to find common ground with ALL Americans, regardless of differences; he walked his talk. He was a leader who made it easier for other people to believe in hope through the way he lived out his life, cultivating an attitude of gratitude while giving and forgiving with grace, mercy, and integrity as powerful tools of his deep, abiding faith and love for his family and his country.
Now, I know you’re wondering what this has to do with a Christmas Question today, huh?! Giving and forgiving are quite literally wrapped into the message of Christmas. Giving your time, talents, and service to others, being kind and compassionate of others and yourself, and forgiving one another are ways to live the message of Christmas every day of the year. So, take time to ponder this one:
How will you choose to give and forgive yourself and others during this season of hope, peace, joy, and love now, and well into the new year?
St. Augustine declared: “Two works of mercy set a person free: Forgive and you will be forgiven; Give and you will receive.”
May we all take time to reflect on these challenges in our own hearts as we wait, anticipate, and hope in the coming days, my friends.
PS: I gratefully give thanks for the life, leadership lessons, and legacy of President George H. W. Bush; well done, faithful servant…