"A proverb in the Old Testament states: 'He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city' (Proverbs 16:32).
"It is when we become angry that we get into trouble. The road rage that affects our highways is a hateful expression of anger. I dare say that most of the inmates of our prisons are there because they did something when they were angry. In their wrath they swore, they lost control of themselves, and terrible things followed, even murder. There were moments of offense followed by years of regret. . . .
"So many of us make a great fuss of matters of small consequence. We are so easily offended. Happy is the man who can brush aside the offending remarks of another and go on his way." Gordon B Hinckley
One of the lessons we talked about yesterday was in setting an example and remembering to have gratitude in our lives. As I researched the topic today, I came across the previous quote. I do believe that it is when we become angry that we get into trouble. I know that many of the mistakes in my own life were made because I was angry at someone or something, or even at myself.
This next month is when the world celebrates the birthday of Jesus Christ. I was reading online somewhere today of a family tradition. This family hangs a gold stocking for Jesus and during the month of December, every family member writes down their gift to him. It can be as simple as reading a book of scripture, or saying daily prayers. It can even be more complex, such as serving every month at the local food bank. I loved that tradition. What a wonderful way to remind my children what the Christmas season is really about and to whom they should give their gifts.
My gift to the Savior this month is to be a little more kind to those around me. Especially, at the Post Office. It is so easy to get frustrated with others and to react instead of act. Saturday was a great example. I had a lady ring the bell and start yelling that we had her package. She had mistakenly had it sent to the street address instead of the PO Box. I have not seen her package, and it would have been so easy to yell back! Instead, I asked her to lower her voice or else come back on Monday. Than, I started to help her. She calmed right down. I did not accuse her or blame her for anything. I simply made a note for the back table with her correct address, gave her my name and phone number and told her that I would not send it back if I received it. It was such and easy fix and all my employees were amazed because she responded well to me. (She is usually quite contrary).
It was actually easy for me to do because I wasn't reacting to her. What a great way to start the morning. After that experience, we had the lesson in church on Sunday. Do you think that Heavenly Father is trying to give me a message???
So, today, I am trying to put into place calmness and gratitude in my own life. Kayla was doing dishes and pouting and slamming the dishes. She broke one of the plates. I did not get made, just told her to throw it away and clean up the mess. Then, I asked her to come see me. She said "no!" with a pout. Now , if you know my daughter Kayla, you know how great she can pout! So, I started counting, 1, 2, 10! Then I ran after her. She ran laughing and giggling to the garage door where she couldn't get away from me and I tickled her. She collapsed laughing and than went back and finished the dishes with no complaints. Calmness AND gratitude. I remembered to tell her how much I appreciated her and how much she contributes to the family when she is helpful. We finished the evening, both happy.
Marcus B. Nash said, "In order to have joy, you need to understand that, as a child of your Heavenly Father, you inherited divine traits and spiritual needs--and just like a fish needs water, you need the gospel and the companionship of the Holy Ghost to be truly, deeply happy. Because you are the offspring of God (see Acts 17:28), it is incompatible with your eternal nature to do wrong and feel right. It cannot be done. It is part of your spiritual DNA, as it were, that peace, joy, and happiness will be yours only to the degree you live the gospel."
The second commandment, we are told, is like unto the first, "love your neighbor as yourself". When I succeed in loving my neighbors, than I will realize that they also are divine and have inherited some of the same traits from our Heavenly Father. Who are my neighbors? I believe that they are all around us. They are in our homes, our streets, our places of work, and anywhere we may visit. I think that true joy and happiness, comes from doing the will of our Heavenly Father in all things. I think that in the end it won't matter how many scriptures I know, or how many books I have read, or how righteous the world thinks I am. Do you think that He will welcome me into His kingdom if I am angry and resentful? How about if I justify my actions because of the behavior of someone else?
I don't think that I will make it to my Father's house if I am not kind and loving to His children. I think that part of developing true charity is learning to love others that might seem different than we are. It is also showing and over abundance of kindness in the face of anger and bitterness. It truly is turning the other cheek.
My December gift to the Christ child is to work on cultivating a kind and loving heart, at all times and in all places. May we each come to the manger with one good gift.