by Dr. Gary G. Kindley
[Wisdom (Sophia) speaks]: Now then, my children, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways. Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not disregard it. For those who find me find life and receive favor from God. Proverbs 8:32-33, 35
A Word of
How appropriate that the day following Christmas Sunday is National Fruitcake Day! It is a day to remember—or to intentionally try to forget, depending upon your perspective—this celebrated holiday dessert. It seems that there are very few people who have lukewarm feelings about the sweet concoction. Some like it and some don’t. I fall in the latter category, and have “re-gifted” one or more of the colorful confections. I don’t tell the gift-giver that I have re-gifted their cake because I don’t think it is wise to do so. Primarily, I don’t want to offend them that theirs was not the “perfect gift.”
Of course, with the exception of God’s gifts to us, there are few “perfect gifts.” The closest we humans come to offering perfection is in giving ourselves away for the sake of love. The Cathedral’s mission work in Reynosa reflects the sacrificial love of Christian service. The unconditional love of a child for her/his parents and the parents’ love for their child is love perfected.
The Canadian novelist, Alden Nowlan, wrote: “The day children realize that all adults are imperfect, they become an adolescent; the day they forgive them, they become an adult; the day they forgive themselves, they become wise.”
Today’s scripture reading uplifts Wisdom. The Hebrew Bible names Sophia, the feminine expression of the Spirit of God, as the divine incarnation of Wisdom. She cries: “Listen. . .those who find me find life and God’s favor.” Rather than being angry at others, or discounting our sacred worth by self-loathing, we are wise when we forgive ourselves and others for human imperfection.
Especially at Christmas, when family differences are magnified and give rise to disagreements, the wisest thing that we can do is to live a life of grace. We cannot change others, and some folks obliviously serve fruitcake as a “main course.” We can choose to love ourselves and others and offer the wise and priceless gift of forgiveness.
God of mercy and compassion, may we express our love for you by loving others and offering forgiveness to those who seem least deserving of our mercy. Amen.