The Attitude of Jesus

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 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Colossians 3:12-14

It’s less than a week until Christmas now and the Christmas spirit is abroad in the land…

When I was 10 years old, I knew what that was, but as I get older and older, I’m not so sure what it is.  I used to think it was a kind of joy, mixed with anticipation and general excitement, but as an adult all of that faded.  Oh, I look forward to the day simply because it involves being with loved ones and having a “fancy” meal, not because it was Christmas.  If anything, for my adult self, Christmas day really meant that I could relax a bit.  The events, shopping and rush was finally over!

To be truthful, neither my 10-year-old view of “that Christmas feeling” or my parental view of “whew, survived” is really the right way to view the situation, as I’ve come to understand now that the kids are grown.  Now, I’ve come to realize that there really shouldn’t be any special “feeling” at all, for the ideals that culture associates with Christmas are really the attitudes that Christ has made possible for His followers 365 days a year.

Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness and an over-riding love are things we should be showing all the time.  These are not just ideals or goals, they are imperatives that are based upon unselfishness as modeled by the life of Jesus Christ, who demonstrated these attributes is everything that He did and said.  It is certainly true that my behavior (and yours) doesn’t always match that of our Lord, but as we grow in our faith and as we focus our lives on Christ, we will make progress in this life. If nothing else, these attitudes will enable each of us to show those around us the best of the Christmas season, all year long.

Sooner or later, someone will ask what it is that we have, for they will no doubt want some for themselves.

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About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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12 Responses to The Attitude of Jesus

  1. Little Monk says:

    “It’s less than a week until Christmas now and the Christmas spirit is abroad in the land…
    When I was 10 years old, I knew what that was, but as I get older and older, I’m not so sure what it is. .. To be truthful, neither my 10-year-old view of “that Christmas feeling” or my parental view of “whew, survived” is really the right way to view the situation, as I’ve come to understand now that the kids are grown.”

    What a fabulous question, Don… “What is the ‘Christmas Spirit’?”

    This question, and your thoughtful answer, plucked strings of reflection in me as I read, and while I do not DISAGREE in any way with your considerations here, I thought I’d share what echoed in my own heart on this.

    Your answer is thoughtful, loving, reflective… brilliant, even. Probably much more thoughtful and “grown up” than the one that came to my own heart. In my own life, I’ve found “theology simplifying” and the Lord focusing me on ever simpler understanding of Himself, His heart, grace, love, what He expects of me and equips me with and for… So, while I don’t apologize for the rather simplistic or childlike response I’m about to make to your fabulous question, I did think it needed some grounding in this context.

    For me, the answer to the question “What is the Christmas Spirit?”, is/was contained in the question itself… the keyword there being “Spirit”. As “spirit”, it is prone to all the challenges of semantics and syllogism, reason and theology. We can approach it, we can discuss it, but we cannot adequately contain or define it. Like Jesus’ disclosure one day to a lonely woman that, “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” As I pondered your question, Don, I simply “became aware” of something that I cannot adequately express, but I’ll try to describe… and it is totally subjective… so if it fits and blesses you or any other, great, and if it does not fit, please cast it aside without hesitation. But it came down to two questions: “Is the Christmas Spirit real? If so, what is it?”

    “Is it Real?”… Yes, yes it is. Somehow, right across eras and cultures, mankind seems to experience an annual perception of Advent and Nativity. Our responses and expressions of that awareness or perception are cultural and mutable, but the stimulus seems consistent.

    “What, then, is IT?”… I cannot adequately wrap words around this answer, but my mind/heart flashed back to the opening of “Godspell” that I saw years ago… a darkened auditorium, and John the Baptist’s penetrating acapella solo… “Prepare ye the way of the Lord!”… or the breathtaking choral piece “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence”.

    It seems to me as if, each year, the very Cosmos itself pauses and trembles in just a moment, a single, solitary moment, of stillness and awe… that echoes the reality of God’s grace planned from before the foundations of Creation. As if all the universe, for just the space of a single heartbeat… stops… in sheer worship and awe… at the wonder and incomprehensibility… that “God became flesh, and dwelt among us.”

    In my own heart, the “Spirit of Christmas” is a moment of awareness in and of all of consciousness and creation. A very simple recognition that, beyond all hope, beyond all reasoning, beyond all philosophy or theological sophistication, God Himself came to be with/among us… purely, solely, and totally because He loved/loves us that much!

    The Spirit of Christmas is a moment, when the universe itself, and all within it, each year echoes with a chorus of…. “Wow!”

    Thank you for such wonderful questions!

    • Don Merritt says:

      I like your answer better than mine. Yet as I continue to reflect on the two, it occurs to me that yours is what makes mine possible, and I skipped right over it; took it for granted even. In short, mine was not brilliant, but your is! Thanks for sharing it; it would make a great blog post and if you want to post it, I’ll reblog it!

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  5. paulfg says:

    Dear Don, I read your piece and wanted to comment. But my words were not skilful enough. So I passed by with my lord. And returned late last night for another look. And saw Little Monk’s words. And then your response.
    The lord works in his own time and way. What hit me – with so much tenderness – was the sense that that your words, the comment and your response summed up the “why” and “how” of what this is all about. Without any banners or flags. Just two dudes who love the lord. Sharing. No ego. No one way. No right words. Just full of love, respect and affection.
    If anything has given me hope for what this God and Love stuff is all about right now – it was this exchange.

    (and last night in bed on my smartphone – I tried to tap these words. The lord crashed that attempt for me. This morning, these are the words)

    Now I am off to add these words to Little Monk’s re-blog – along with a follow for a fellow follower! 🙂

  6. Little Monk says:

    Thank you so much and welcome! You and Don humble me. It is such joy to be family with such brethren, sitting about the kitchen table over coffee, discussing the love of Our Father and our privilege to be about the Family Business of rescue. I am so a work in progress, thank you for your prayers. Blessings and grace to thee — LM

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