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Dec22ThuWhat to do when the holiday season is driving you nuts. December 22, 2016 by Phil Callaway
Last Sunday, a small boy turned around in church, leaned toward my granddaughter, Sophie, slapped her and stole her cookie.
- Filed Under:
- Faith & Friends
Now, Sophie is just shy of one. The boy is two. Sophie sat there decked in her Christmas-y best, looking down at her empty hand, then up at her mama. Her cookie was gone. And she'd been slapped. The little boy's mother was horrified, of course. She turned around, apologized profusely and handed the cookie back.
I must admit, my first thought was less than admirable: I hope Sophie smacks the little brat.
Live and in Person
The cookie thief reminded me that we all have people in our lives who drive us nuts. Yesterday, I received a letter from a listener to my radio program who asked, “What can you advise me on dealing with people who suck the life out of you? Christmas is coming. So are the relatives.”
I don't recommend what a New Zealander did after a disagreement with a clerk at his bank. They exchanged heated words and the customer went home stewing about it. The next day he returned with an early Christmas gift wrapped in a brown paper bag. After paying for a safety deposit box, he locked the bag inside and left with a grin. Some people rob banks, this guy deposited something. A fish that was growing riper by the minute.
Things were fine at the bank for the next 48 hours. People seemed happy. Clerks wished clients a merry Christmas. But soon they began sniffing the air. Customers looked at each other with questioning glances. Finally the bank closed its doors and the safety deposit boxes were dismantled one at a time until the ripe fish was found.
I don't recommend what an Oshawa, Ont., woman did, either. She began lobbing eggs onto the property of a next-door neighbour who had stolen her joy. Then she “keyed” her neighbour's car and left threatening notes that included rude comments about the woman's clothing. A judge convicted her of engaging in “an unbelievable and outrageous” campaign against her neighbour and ordered her to pay her neighbour $11,000 for subjecting her to 43 harassing acts.
Reminds me of the squirrel who was told “we are what we eat.” He said, “That explains it. I'm nuts.” The truth is, some people are a little nuts. They can be unkind, insensitive and argumentative. They want you to be as miserable as they are. And to complicate things, they may be coming soon to a Christmas celebration near you.
Turning the Other Cookie
So what do we do? Well, the answer would take a hundred pages of Faith & Friends, but here's a starter kit.
- Give thanks that most people treat you well. And that those who don't won't be staying all year long.
- Examine your sensitivity level. Often we humans are too easily annoyed. Expect perfection and your life will be a series of disappointments, grumblings and complaints—particularly at Christmastime. The ability to shrug things off and laugh may help you outlive those who annoy you.
- Pray first that God will change your heart. And pray for those who irritate you. Prayers soften people. Remember that others can only drive us crazy if we give
them the keys. So pray less for their behaviour and more for your response.
- Remember the words of the Saviour whose birth we're celebrating. His first words after being nailed to a cross were, “Father forgive….” We must forgive, too. Jesus didn't just say love your enemies. He showed us how.
So did little Sophie that morning in church. After the toddler slapped her and stole her cookie, and the mother returned it, she took a bite, then gave the rest back to him. I was as surprised as anyone. This Christmas, I am giving thanks that she's an improvement on her grandpa.