One of my annual traditions for the Christmas Season is to read Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” or to watch a filmed version of it (my personal favorite is the one starring George C. Scott). My Christmas spirit is always touched and enhanced by this great story of redemption.
In the story Scrooge’s nephew is visiting him and Scrooge is belittling Christmas and his nephew’s devotion to it. The nephew answers his uncle’s anti-Christmas tirade saying, ” I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round as a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!”
It is a tradition in some cultures around the world to at certain times forgive others of offenses, obligations, and even financial debts. These cultures see such charitable compassion as beneficial not only to the receiver, but also to the person granting the forgiveness and, by extension, the benefit is felt through the entire community.
How would it be if we took stock of the grudges we carry, the emotional ‘promissory notes’ we hold over others, and rather than demanding our pound of flesh, instead granted forgiveness and compassion? How would it feel to us and our loved ones if we cleansed the toxic air and cleared away the inevitable debris that builds up in any relationship? Such compassion and mercy would be a gift beyond measure.
Such compassion can begin with the understanding that it is difficult for all of us to change old patterns and ways of behaving, and to realize that we are in this life and relationship together and that support and acceptance will always lead to positive change more effectively than blame and condemnation.
So give yourself and your partners on this journey the gift of compassion, mercy, and forgiveness and feel the marvelous results of such an offering!