Dark Side

Admitting That We Are Self-Centered Can Be Healthy

The Christmas season is intended to bring out the best in us, but a recent Christmas shopping excursion proved the opposite for me. I told Ed, my old neighbor in Saskatchewan about my failure in common sense. Last week the wife and I drove to the neighboring city of Abbotsford so that, I could shop at the House of James. The House James is a Bible Book Store featuring religious books, movies, music, etc.

I went to the store armed with a recent catalog from their store full of things on sale. After a lengthy search and the aid of the staff, I got to the till with precisely what I came to buy. The cashier took my gift card, but it was not registering so I could not purchase what I had brought to the cash register.

I had made a special trip to use my gift card for Christmas presents. The cashier called for Pierre since my gift card was dead. Pierre informed us that the system was not accepting gift cards and I could try later. I explained I had driven over from Chilliwack and did not live in Abbotsford. Pierre said that he was sorry, but gift cards were not registering, and I would need to come back as he did not know when the system would be working correctly. It was the second day, they had been working at fixing their system.

Common sense should have kicked in concerning the store computer system and that the staff weren’t out to get me. In frustration, I had unfair thoughts about Pierre, and the cashier as if they were the reason for my disappointment. I complained to my wife that I couldn’t buy what I wanted. She had little sympathy for me, as she knows I can get grumpy and unreasonable when things don’t go my way. I decided that I needed to realize the world isn’t just about me. Before I drive to the House of James next time, I will phone to make sure their computers are taking gift cards.

It wasn’t much fun to realize that I have a dark self-centered side. It is important to see life from another person’s situation. Everyone needs to be treated with respect and understanding even when what they are telling you is frustrating. It is easy to take what is irritating to us and magnify it as if it is a personal catastrophe.

In the Christmas season, we celebrate and magnify how God gave complete forgiveness, innocence, and love in the Christ Child born at Bethlehem. Jesus was born into a world centered in sin.  A world without real understanding, a world with folks set on getting what they want when they want it.

The Jews wanted a Savior but not one from God as the Suffering Servant Savior promised to Abraham’s offspring. Mary, the virgin, magnified the Lord and rejoiced in God her Savior. She was willing to simply see God’s will as her own. She knew God’s mercy is for those who fear him. The Son she would mother would be God’s right arm to scatter the proud and send the rich away empty. He would maximize the mercy of God with joy forever for all sinners. Amen.

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