For me, it’s just not Christmas without A Christmas Carol. I love getting caught up in the story of greed gone good and the most sacred of human redemptions. I also watch EVERY version of the movie that has ever been made. The classic Alastair Sim version is still my favorite. But I even admit to enjoying the ultra-cheesy Ebbie with Susan Lucci.
Of course, one of the best parts of the whole thing, for me, is when little Tiny Tim, out of the abundance of his heart, proudly proclaims the most recognized holiday wish since “We bring you tidings of great joy.” “God bless us, every one.” In context, the boy was offering his special prayer for those he loved. But Dickens and I have a deeper message in mind.
God bless us, everyone! Yes, literally everyone! Wishing well to those who would do the same for you is easy. But it’s difficult, nigh impossible, to wish blessing upon those who hurt us or wish us ill. Yet that is the nature of the love of which divine blessing is made. No one on this planet is beyond the reach of divine blessing. And no one on this planet should try to change that.
The reason is simple…and from a certain perspective, selfish. Divine blessing…divine love…is given freely without condition or limit. But when asking for this blessing, we most often pray the easy, narrowly focused “God please give us” prayers. Easy prayers center us on the ones being blessed rather than on the one giving the blessing. In doing so, they turn divine blessings into all too human “good wishes.”
Praying such easy prayers closes off the heart and cripples our ability to give and receive the love of which blessings are made. Praying the difficult prayer opens our hearts to God and to others in a bond of mutual respect and shared communion.
There is nothing wrong with asking this love for our families, friends, selves and those like us. However, unless we can pray the same prayer for one who hates us (not just for one you hate), then we don’t know for what kind of blessing we are asking.
So in this holiday season, dare to pray a bolder prayer.
“God bless us! Everyone!
“God, bless those I love and those who love me. Bless all those who have my best interest at heart. Bless those who make your world a better place simply by being in it. Bless those who make my life shine!
“But God, also bless those who hate and spitefully use us. Bless those who find me foolish and without value. Bless those who see my opinions…or even my existence…as trivial. Bless those who see themselves as the world’s greatest blessing.
“Bless those who make my life hell. Bless those I cannot bless because even seeing them darkens my spirit. Bless those who have hurt me most deeply, even those who hurt me in your name. Bless those with whom I will never agree!
“Bless those who would never think to ask for your blessings themselves.”
Perhaps this change in the focus of our blessing requests will open the door to new community and cooperation in 2012. Individually, as a nation and a world, we are in desperate need of this blessing!
So God, please do bless us! Everyone!