Happy Holidays…REALLY???

happy holidays

by Kenneth Justice,

~ On Christmas Eve yesterday in the midst of running a few last minute errands I stopped off at one of the little café’s I hang out at to get a cup of coffee…..as I was standing in line the young woman in front of me said to her boyfriend that she wanted to stop by one more store before they headed home,

No way, are you out of your mind?” he said to her, “I have to work all week long and I’m not wasting anymore time going into stores….you’re stupid for not having finished your Christmas shopping weeks ago” he said

The entire exchange was rather brief, but those few words the boyfriend spoke came out sounding very cruel. It was obvious she was upset because when he tried to grab at her in an awkward attempt to hug her and apologize for the way he talked to her; she back away from him.

We are all prone to misspeaking and at times not being sensitive in the way we talk to others….hell, I have been guilty of that kind of behavior all my life. And with the frenzied pace of the holiday season I’m sure the boyfriend was mentally exhausted from all the shopping and wishes he could go back in time and take back what he said to his girlfriend.

There is so much that I wish I could go back in time and reverse;

—) Nasty words I’ve said to people in the past

—) My holier-than-thou attitude which I carried with me for a long time

—) Poor decisions I made in the past that led to even worst decisions

Ultimately though, it was all the bad decisions and all that I have learned which has helped me to become who I am today. And who I am today is an imperfect young man that is still trying to figure out his way through this world.

There are a lot of things in life that I simply don’t understand;

—) Why do so many children around the world suffer at the hands of child abusers and molesters?

—) Why do so many people live in extreme poverty?

—) Why does so much of society ignore the needs of single mothers?

The list of questions I mull through my mind is endless. I’m still searching for answers and I will likely be searching for many more years to come.

As I listened to the nasty way in which the young man talked to his girlfriend it reminded me a lot of the way I used to be; insensitive and brash. I used to believe that in order for me to be ‘righteous’ I had to walk around and constantly tell people what I thought was ‘wrong’ about them or about their behaviors…….I had this whacked out notion that I was the moral police…….but I don’t think like that anymore.

The boyfriend probably did think in his mind that his girlfriend was ‘stupid‘ or at the very least ‘not smart’ for having put off her holiday shopping till the last minute….but so what; just because we think something doesn’t mean we should say it out loud.

I don’t like the way I used to think and I definitely don’t like the way I used to interact with others…..and in many ways I still don’t like certain aspects of my behavior. I still have a tendency to be self-centered and forget the needs of those around me……but I’m working on things.

I went to Christmas Eve mass last night and enjoyed the service. I like sitting in the massive ancient cathedral surrounded by all the decorations….it gave me time to think. I enjoy the stillness of sitting in silence and pondering the deeper meanings of life…the things that matter most.

So much of Western Culture is simply too fast paced and it seems like there is only one speed at which life in our culture moves; full throttle. So I am thankful for the quiet times in my life where I can sit and mediate on all that is happening around me; like when I’m sitting in a worship service or when I’m sitting at a little café enjoying a cup of coffee.

To my Jewish friends I want to wish you a Happy Hanukkah,

To my Muslim friends celebrating Eid ul-Fitr I wish you peace,

To my Christian friends Merry Christmas,

And to everyone else, whatever you are celebrating or even if you are celebrating nothing, I wish you the best!

I have a special announcement coming up on New Years and I hope you stay tuned…..for now though, its time for my morning coffee,





Categories: Culture & Society

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34 replies

  1. You can improve yourself with Christ’s strength in you


    • I know exactly what you mean about the mistakes of your past making you who you are today! I feel the same way about my own life. Yesterday, at Christmas Mass, the homily was simply about how much God loves ALL of us. The priest said that he once knew a female theologian who was very critical of most people. So, the priest finally asked her: “If we are all so undeserving, why does God love us SO very much?” She replied: “He has poor taste.” Hah! We can be so hard on ourselves and others. My friend died unexpectedly a few weeks ago. Some of her last pearls of wisdom were: “We need to treat ourselves more gently and be more compassionate with others.” She was the kind of believer that made all of those who were blessed to know her feel as if they’d received a kiss from heaven. 🙂 I love her example! I wish you peace during this blessed season and I’d like to thank you for your authentic, refreshing voice in your blog. You make the world a better place!

    • Cate,

      Great story from your priest….how weird; the priest at my church said something similar; he told of a time he was in confession and his confession turned into him complaining about what was wrong with someone he was having problems with; “I had stopped confessing my own sins and was not listing the sins of someone else” he said…well the priest in the confessional said to him; “isn’t it amazing that god loves this person you’re complaining about!”

      God’s love is definitely endless. Merry Christmas to you 🙂

    • Amen Yoshiko!! It is in and through Him…. and great post Mr. Monk….

  2. We all know that wishing we could go back in time and reverse something will never happen. Guilt will not change it either. I was told that if we feel guilt about something it is a behavior we can change. In the last few years I have come to one clear attitude. I never try to judge wrong any behavior of another. There are so many variables that I don’t know that preceded that action. If they express regret to me, I ask them questions. Last night a homeless, unemployed, 33 year old man was depressed around his family. Until a few months ago they wouldn’t even talk to him because he was using. He felt guilty he had no presents to give. I thanked him for the drawing he made for me and his efforts in changing his life. Joyeux Noel.

  3. It’s amazing how much Scripture speaks of the damage our tongues can cause, but it remains one of the primary things most of us have not been able to get under control. Contrary to the popular children’s ditty, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me,” words can hurt, deeply. If we, as a people, could get control of our tongues, speaking blessings rather than curses, I think we would find the world around us would not only look a lot different, but people would react to us in a much different manner as well. God’s blessings on you and yours during these joyous holidays.

  4. “just because we think something doesn’t mean we should say it out loud.” In a nutshell, modern society’s problem. You often hear rude people justifying their rudeness by saying, “I’m only saying what I think.” Well, don’t.

  5. if only we could have
    the mind and tail
    of a dog!
    may your Christmas
    be with ease and joy 🙂

  6. The road of life is always littered with the potholes of regret. The trick in life is to make such potholes as small as you can and to place as much space between them as possible.

    Merry Christmas and and have Wondrous and Prosperous New Year.

  7. That whole “if you don’t have something nice to say….” thing is a fabulous rule to follow (even if it is a little tough somethimes).

    Merry Christmas to you and yours! I hope you’re having a fabulous holiday. 😀

  8. With awareness comes enlightenment. Merry Christmas!

  9. honest opinnion… at least you try to see resaons of devastating which is very visible everywhere… but, be careful….if you see deeper than others, feel stronger than others ..its not anyy more high popular style in the world of permanet smile as grave of culture

  10. Firstly – Happy Christmas and glad tidings of comrort and joy to you and to those you hold dear.
    The beginning of your post, about the young man and his girlfriend and how they managed to screw up the time they had Christmas shopping was very poignant. I am not a Christian, but as a Brit, it reminded me of some words within the Anglo-Christian church – part of their version of the Act of Contrition, and it goes like this:
    We have left undone those things which we ought to have done;
    And we have done those things which we ought not to have done;

    To my mind this explains so much about the problems in our society’
    Warm best wishes for a great 2014……….I’ll be watching you!!

  11. One should life without regret. No need to hurry, time as we made it, only goes at one second at a time.No way we will ever be able to catch up or be faster.
    Hoping your days were filled with laughter and joy. Best wishes on the holidays.
    I’ll be awaiting the renouncement. You opening a coffee bar
    Keep smiling Dude. And cheers on the coffee

  12. There is no one else to blame, than us. I wish I could change only one thing from my past if I have that chance today but I have not so for that, I keep myself away from as many as possible bads.
    Best wishes, Kenneth! I can’t wait for the news.

  13. Hi Kenneth,

    I hope you are having a Merry Christmas. I went to a carol service on Christmas Eve. It was lovely.

    I really can’t believe that you were like you describe above. I think you are bashing yourself about the head for no reason. Anyway, whatever, you are a very kind and considerate person now, so that is good.

    Have you heard about pot-hole England? Every time I go over a pot-hole when I am out driving in my car, it makes me mad! I try hard to avoid it the next time I go that route, but it always catches me out. There are so many of them. We also have “sleeping policemen”, which are deliberate mounds in the roads to make people drive slower. These are also maddening when you forget they are there. Even when you are driving slowly, they must be wrecking my little car. I will end up on foot very soon. I am trying to stay calm, but it is a constant battle with myself.

    Have a great day, and take care.


    • Alison,

      I love the examples you gave and we have the problems with pot holes here too! And yes, I was quite an ‘arse’ back when I was younger but am slowly trying to be less of one as I grow older…

      merry Christmas to you !

  14. Beautiful post, Kenneth. Thanks so much.

  15. Great blog post! I agree that there are things we simply cannot take back: words build relationships, but also can be used to destroy them. You cannot take back what you do or say, but hopefully you can profit from them later on. Once again, great job!

  16. ‘So I am thankful for the quiet times in my life where I can sit and mediate on all that is happening around me; like when I’m sitting in a worship service or when I’m sitting at a little café enjoying a cup of coffee.’
    Love this….it filled me with peace just to read it.

  17. The important thing about cruel words is to be aware that we’ve said them and have the humility to apologise.

    But just as importantly…….is the other person having the grace to acknowledge the apology and accept the spirit in which it is given.

    “Sorry” is one of the hardest words to say, but “Thankyou, I appreciate your gesture” is even harder.

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