The three Mullins sisters and other young girls in our neighborhood liked to play dress-up. Each house had its own interesting selections. Ellen Nichols had a bunch of fun dresses and a multi-layered skirt that I absolutely loved. The girl up the street had ball gowns that her older sisters had worn and discarded. And, Twila Sue had a fantastic assortment of Avon samples; my lips have never been so red! It was fun as we spent Saturdays dressing up and pretending to be all grown up and very, very mature.
Sometimes we were a wedding party with the bride wearing a lacy half-slip on her head as a veil. Other times we were beauty pageant contestants. Pretending to come from faraway places, we would dress up, have a parade and then participate in our own version of a “talent” competition. As I recall, there was lots of singing and pretend baton twirling.
But, I don’t remember us ever holding a mock question and answer competition. We never asked each other THE question: “What is it that you want for the people of the earth?” Oh, in later years I made fun of the answers given by those young women in the televised beauty pageants. We laughed at their answers to THE question of “I would bring world peace” or “I wish that I could cure cancer.” I know that those are fine dreams, but it all seemed insincere, just a little fake.
It reminds me of some of the answers I have given that I am not proud of. These answers were not bad, but they were not sincere and they rarely committed me to do anything out of my comfort zone. You may know too well what I mean. I am not proud that sometimes I have responded to a friend’s story of pain with a much too quick “I’ll pray for you.” And, I am ashamed to admit that I have been guilty of turning away when someone looked to me to do something to help them during a tough time. I have, at times, given the “I want world peace” answer when the better reply would be “I will do what I can to help bring peace to your life.”
This holiday season, some of us will get too excited about the words on a disposable coffee cup and forget that we ought to be doing what we can to make Christmas merry for someone who is struggling. We may look for the “gift card” gift rather than gifting our time. Or, we shy away from asking someone their plans for Thanksgiving because we don’t really want to include them in our plans.
This holiday season, as we gather together, let’s not say we want peace; let’s work to create peace.
“But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.” (I John 3:17-18)