Seasonal greetings are principles to live by year-around

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 31, 2011

“Happy New Year!” I’ve been saying this seasonal greeting everywhere I go along with “Merry Christmas!”

I’m on a mission to greet as many people as possible for Charlie because he’s not here to do it. He left us in December 1997, so he just spent his 14th Christmas with Christ whom he loved and served.

If you ever met Charlie Smith, you heard him say, “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,” not just in December, but year-round. For those of you who never knew him, let me introduce you.

Charlie worked as an accountant for 24 years until he began losing his eyesight, a painfully slow process that continued for decades, resulting in blindness. His failing eyesight forced him to retire at age 45.

But Charlie didn’t complain about his circumstances, even when an unexplainable bright light flashed on and off in his eyes every moment of his life for the last few years. Every Wednesday for more than 16 years, he conducted a weekly service at a local nursing home.

He would also visit the residents who couldn’t come to the lobby for the service, going room to room letting them know someone cared. When asked what a person who gives so much of himself for so long receives in return, Charlie said, “I’ve been paid back many times over in my life. You may go in the door feeling ‘blah,’ but always feel good when you leave.”

Then he went on to talk about how the residents were a joy to be around, even though he had seen them at times when they were lonely, sick or depressed. His genuine caring flowed from his faith in God, whom he believed deserved all the glory for any good works.

“Merry” means cheerful, and “Christmas” is a celebration of Jesus’ birth, as well as a time for giving and thinking of others. “Happy” is defined as joy and contentment. A “New Year” speaks of a fresh start or clean slate of time.

What better principles to live by each day than cheerfully giving to others as God did when He gave us His greatest gift, Jesus Christ. What if we thought about others before ourselves?

Think of what the world would be like if we lived each day as though it was the first day of a new year. Wouldn’t we have a more joyful outlook on life if we put the past behind us and looked forward to each new day?

If we actually lived “Merry Christmas” and “Happy New Year” year-round, we would be human messengers bringing “glory to God in the highest, on earth peace goodwill toward men” (Luke 2:14).

By his 72 years of life, Charlie Smith demonstrated what it means to be a Christian, because he was a reflection of Christ. He could see those around him through eyes of compassion.

Live every day with “Merry Christmas and “Happy New Year” in your heart!