The Christmas season can twist you into a pretzel if you aren’t careful. Mothers are harried, tired and rushed as they attempt to keep family life on track, shop for Christmas gifts, bake for Christmas parties at school, work and church, get the gifts wrapped, ready others for shipping, decorate the home and put up the tree and, well, just about everything that needs doing. Fathers are working overtime or a second job just to pay for Christmas and the children are overly excited, fighting with each other and not doing well in school as they dream of the Christmas holidays.
Whether you are the mother that is shopping for groceries or gifts or the mother that is checking out others at her register, a little common courtesy is needed. Remember, everyone is stressed, tired and preoccupied with life’s difficulties. Try to be respectful and more than a little kind to each other. If not, then what is all the fuss about?
I remember, as a child, when I first heard the phrase, “can’t see the forest for the trees.” I really could not grasp what the teacher was trying to explain. A few years later, I understood. It seems we now live in a nation that can’t see the forest for the trees. Why do we celebrate the birth of our Savior if we are going to act uncivilized in the days leading up to the celebration? People are easily angered when they are tired, rushed or perceive an injustice. Someone cuts in line at the check-out of Walmart and people behave as if they had their wallet stolen, ready to stone someone. No, it isn’t right to cut in line. That is another inconsideration. But hey, a simple, “excuse me, I believe it was my turn next,” should be enough to express your displeasure. There is no need to start a fight. How is that any way to celebrate the ‘Good News?’ It certainly isn’t any way to represent a Christian.
When the cashier is slow and makes several mistakes, smile and say, “It’s ok, I am not in a big hurry.” Maybe you are in a hurry, but don’t you remember how you felt when you were new on the job and were learning your way around? Besides, making her or him more nervous won’t get you checked out any quicker.
Yes, we have to deal with rude people every day of the year. Sometimes, you just want to throw something hard at them and tell them just how rude you think they are. Here is the thing, though, they know how rude they are and they don’t care. In fact, when you get angry, they are delighted that they caused you to get angry. Don’t give them the pleasure. Just smile and say, “I know your parents would be so proud of you right now.” Do it with sincerity and watch them try to figure out what just happened. They will probably lie awake all night trying to ‘get it.’
No matter how hard we try, we are going to do or say something that is rude to get even, eventually. It happens. Just apologize. You may not realize how quickly an apology can turn a situation around, but it can. And, it makes you feel better about yourself.
A little common courtesy is the least we can offer each other during the season we prepare to celebrate the greatest gift mankind has ever received. Being the better person has its own rewards. Who knows, maybe your courtesy will cause others to slow down and think about their own actions.
It is really only common sense to stop and realize that we are all in the same boat. If someone is rocking the boat, do you really want to cause a scene and perhaps tip the boat over? At the end of the day, all we really want is to get home, throw those shoes off – ladies, you know what comes off next – get comfortable and relax with our own family. Don’t be one of those people who just can’t let it go; one who has to get in the face of the offending party and let them know just how angry you are. People are crazy these days. What if the person just lost his job, his wife has left him and taken his children and he feels as if he has nothing left to lose? You may be the one he pulls out a gun and shoots. Imagine the headlines in the morning paper.
“Man shoots and kills three, wounds four others because Joe Jones, one of the deceased, wouldn’t stop haggling the man for taking up so much time in the check-out lane.” It is always when we look back that we realize we made too much ado over nothing.
Go ahead and figure that people will tick you off this holiday season. Plan to be the courteous person you are all the rest of the year. You may start a chain of courteous behavior. Wouldn’t it be really nice to have a flash mob of courteous shoppers in the mall? Maybe you could start singing “Oh Holy Night” whenever you see an argument about to break out. Now that would cause people to stop and think about their actions! Especially if I were the one doing the singing. Hey, you never know, they might take up a collection to get me to stop.
It is your world. Don’t allow others to push your buttons or make you dance to their music. Use your gift of salvation to point others in the right direction. Don’t believe in Christ? In that case, do the right thing and put Christians to shame. Sometimes, we should be ashamed of our behavior. Whatever you believe, “A little common courtesy, please.”