Lianne Milan Bernardo

‘Tis the season to be patient

By  Lianne Milan Bernardo, Youth Speak News
  • December 21, 2012

Last week I went out to do a bit of shopping and, to my dismay, found myself at a store early in the morning surrounded by too many people. I had difficulty manoeuvring my shopping cart around shoppers, strollers and the odd employee re-arranging displays. Occasionally, I would overhear a grumble of frustration from another shopper. The experience was so overwhelming that I returned home with a headache.

Shopping during Christmas time is difficult, whether you’re the person shopping or the one behind the counter. For a season that is about joy and giving, it also brings out a lot of frustration, anxiety and impatience. No matter how hard you try to avoid them, the lines at the cashier are longer than usual and you suffer the occasional setback. An item may not be available in-store or there might be a problem with the receipt. Arguments even emerge over these setbacks.

In a world where everything is instant, from shopping to communication, patience is practised less and less. The second there’s a hint of a delay, like a slow Internet connection or a text message failing to send, panic and frustration ensues.

But Christmas is a season that should not be rushed or checked off like another social event on the calendar. Just as we shop for gifts for our loved ones and decorate our homes, we also fill our minds and hearts with joy and anticipation for the Lord’s birth. Our race to finish those shopping lists and gather the necessary ingredients for our Christmas meals should not distract us from the spirit of Christmas.

And we should not keep these feelings to ourselves. By practising patience in our errands during the season, we offer the gift of consideration to the people around us. The Bible in fact reminds us that all things will be done in due time. After all, Jesus did not come to us as a fully grown man but as a baby. The world had to wait 30 years before He started His ministry. The frustration and impatience we express when we are delayed will not speed things up but only tire us out and upset the people around us.

Patience, however, is not just for the holiday shopping season but is something that can be applied to our everyday lives. According to the Letter of James, patience is character building: “Then be happy, for when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow… For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete” (James 1: 2-4).

St. Paul also reminds us of the importance of patience in our lives and in God’s plan for us in a letter to the Romans: “Be glad for all God is planning for you. Be patient in trouble, and prayerful always” (Romans 12:12).

As Christmas draws near and the shopping season winds down, let us bring the spirit of the Christmas season to everyone around us through patience, consideration and joy.

(Bernardo, 26, lives in Toronto.)


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