My Revised Christmas List
by Ruth Bell Graham
Let me offer for our consideration a revised shopping list -
This Christmas I am giving my parents more loving appreciation for the years of time and effort - yes, and money - that they invested in me, so much of which I took for granted.
To my neighbors - nice or not - I will give thoughtful consideration. I will be slow to gossip, quick to sympathize, ready to help - praying all the while that God will give them the necessary patience to live next to me.
To those who serve me in restaurants or shops - grumpy or obliging, taciturn or otherwise - I will be courteous, friendly, interested, remembering: If I worked so long for so little, if my back ached and my feet hurt, and if when I got home I still had supper to prepare, I too would be grumpy, taciturn, or otherwise.
To all I meet - remembering that each carries burdens known only to himself, and some too big to cope with - I will say the kind things I want (but hesitate) to say. I will tell them the nice things I've heard about them. I will express my appreciation warmly. If there's nothing nice to say - I'll do more than keep my mouth shut sweetly, I'll find something nice to say.
To my husband - remembering how much he has had to put up with and for how long - I will give a frank, honest appraisal of myself. I will remember that happy marriages just don't happen. They are the result of good hard work. Then I will take my Bible and reread those timeworn, ageless passages that speak of love and marriage and the responsibilities of privileges of wives. Sensible, delightful, down-to-earth passages, which if any woman would follow would make her husband the happiest, most contented man on earth.
To my children - this Christmas I will be more articulate in my love and my appreciation of them as persons. If I cannot give them a perfect mother I can at least give them more of the one they've got - and make that one more loving. I will be available, knowing that a mother needs, like God, to be a "very present help in trouble." I will take time to listen, time to play. Time to counsel and encourage. In a world of confusion and uncertainties, I will give them the eternal verities of the Word of God. I will try to help them cast their anchor on the goodness and mercy of God.
This is my revised list for Christmas. And through this type of giving, grows the giver.
- Decision, December 1965, "This, Too, I Shall Give"