Every year when I sit down to write our Christmas letter, I start reflecting on God, and Christmas, and feel like writing a Christmas letter is just fluff. What is this phenomenon? Is it wrong to share a year in the life of the Samoiloffs with my friends and family? To catch them up on what we are all doing? I love catching up with other friends and family through their letters? But still. This happens every time. So there must be something to it.
So, I’m starting off with a reflection. Then we’ll head into the year in review, complete with pictures.
I’m entitling this reflection “The Pope and Duck Dynasty.” Yes, I am.
This new Pope is showing the world what love is. What it really, really is. He isn’t getting caught up in fear and controversy. He’s deflecting it. This is what I see, at least. And I think we can all take a lesson from that. The recent Duck Dynasty controversy is an example of not taking a lesson from that. Is this world so caught up in fear that people can’t state their opinions? We glom onto a quote and expand it into something we can take a stand against. Rage on. I remember in the last controversy related to homosexuality where Chik-fil-A’s president and C.O.O. did an interview and said some things about traditional family values. Big, big hulabaloo and frankly I don’t remember the original quote(s). You know what I remember? I remember an article where Shane Windmeyer (a homosexual man) and Dan Cathy both met. And talked. And came out of it with mutual admiration, respect, and understanding. Here’s the article, if you are interested. (You really should read it). Here’s an excerpt:
It is not often that people with deeply held and completely opposing viewpoints actually risk sitting down and listening to one another. We see this failure to listen and learn in our government, in our communities and in our own families. Dan Cathy and I would, together, try to do better than each of us had experienced before.
Yeah. That’s what I’m talking about.
We are a bunch of individuals walking through this world. We all have different points of view. Different opinions. Different ways of expressing them. Different. And yet, really, aren’t we all the same? We all want to be loved. We all have hurt and vulnerable places. We all are children of the same God, whether we believe in him or not. Brothers and sisters walking on this planet together.
And so, while it is so easy to go on living in the fear that creates controversy and division, while many of us feel we have to shout our views from the rooftops, convincing the world we are the ones who are right, how about, this Christmas, we look at the new pope and realize there is another way to live. We can make loving others our primary concern. If I love you, I am not going to bash you over the head with the fact that I believe you are oh-so-very wrong. If I love you, I am not going to think that I am better than you. If I love you, I am going to try and understand your point of view. I am going to care about you, the person. If I love you, I am not going to take anything you do personally. Because, my friend, I am wholly and completely loved by God. I don’t need anything else. Which leaves me free to love you completely, as I am loved.
This Christmas, it is my wish that we all learn to love like that.
Blessings to you and your loved ones.