A Truly Merry Christmas

A Truly Merry Christmas…..Said by an Al-Anon member just before Christmas: “Someone should find Norman Rockwell’s body and put a stake through his heart.” My Christmas will not be what Rockwell says it should be. It will be what it is and within what it is there will be much for which I can be honestly grateful

When I have to go someplace or do something I don’t want to do I set my mind in advance to praise absolutely every thing positive I notice. Sometimes I do my praising to other people who are there and sometimes I do it internally to myself. I have noticed that no experience gets better if I have a critical attitude. That includes Christmas parties.

The angels came to the shepherds heralding the Christ child. It almost terrified them. In the end they were amazed and cheered by the good news they had heard. It is significant to me that the first to know that it was the first Christmas were shepherds.

Years ago an attorney went to a spiritual retreat and was deeply touched. His name was Sam. As a result he came to the mission to be a volunteer. He told me “I have noticed that the Chief [his term for God] has a prejudice that favors the poor. I don’t want to lose this closeness to God that I feel so I want to help the poor. What is the most unpleasant job you have? That is where I want to work”.

I told him doing the delousing was the job every one hates. He said “That is where I’m going to work if you will let me.”. So Sam was our delousing man when he was at the Mission. He was in fact a very high powered attorney. One time he said to I am going to use the fee I got from my last case to buy an avocado ranch up near Santa Barbara

.Just before Christmas that year a man named Otis came to see me. He had been staying at a skidrow hotel when he got seriously ill. He had to go to the hospital. While he was gone the hotel sold all his belongings. That is against the law. They were supposed to store it for six months He was angry and felt hopeless. I hooked Otis up with Sam.Sam said he would be glad to help him

Sam drew up a bunch of intimidating legal documents including an itemized list of Otis’s possessions that he had lost and a dollar evaluation. I am quite sure the total value was estimated on the high side.

Sam went to the hotel and presented all his documents including the bill for the value of Otis’s lost possessions to the hotel owner. Sam said ” I will be back in three days to pick up your check. if you don’t have the check I will immediately file a lawsuit against you. The check was there three days later.I have often enjoyed thinking about that Hotel owner being caught up in his dishonesty with Sam glaring at him.

Otis was glad to get the check for the money he was owed but maybe more importantly he felt noticed and valued. Sam helped Otis have a Merry Christmas and I know what Sam did for Otis helped Sam have a Merry Christmas

.Otis was cheered and lifted up at Christmas. In the same way I think the shepherds also felt validated and honored by the angels visit.I sometimes wonder if God sent the angels to the shepherds because God knew they were the only people who would listen and respond appropriately.

The memory of what Sam did has always informed my attitude about Christmas. It has made many of my Christmas’s merry over the years since.