It's mad-dash week. With Christmas landing on Friday, most folks have almost an entire work week to dash around getting their shopping finished (or shopping started) and cram in all the other day-to-day activities that need to be done because of life -- laundry, cooking, cleaning. It's the craziest week of the year, I believe.
As a result of the craziness, many (most) of us forget what this great Holy Day is all about, or at least we forget in the moment -- when pushing a cart full of items that could have been purchased weeks, or even months ago, through a store crowded with other people who are frantically looking for the right thing, or maybe just anything to fill the need of giving. We forget when we gather with family and we observe our child's feelings hurt by a family member and the mother bear in us comes roaring up to full height. We forget while rushing about and dismissing someone's needs because we have a to-do list to get finished.
My mother reminded me this morning that we are in the Year of Mercy -- forgiveness is in order, forgetting hurt feelings for the sake of Mercy (and to keep from constantly poking that hurt inside, like one's tongue poking a sore tooth); giving everyone the benefit of the doubt, assuming that each person we encounter has a cross heavier than our own; looking at each individual with the eyes of Mercy -- as Our Lord does; giving much more than we get because each soul is more important than any earthly need. That is what this great Holy Day is about -- embracing the Infant God as we celebrate the Mercy He has brought to us through His birth.
So in this last crazy week before we celebrate the birth of Our Savior, remember that no wrapped gift, no baked cookie, no perfectly prepared meal is as important as the Mercy we show toward each other. I'm tempted to have it tattooed somewhere on my body where I can see the word and remember -- Mercy toward all God's children is the only thing that matters this season.
I'm checking out of social media for the rest of the week. I'll answer comments here and emails, but otherwise... silence.