In early 1970s Roxboro, North Carolina had a special “place” where Santa sat on weekends and a few weeknights throughout December.

There were no malls, etc. for Santa to hang out in within this small town so children and their families would wait for hours in line to see Santa.

One of the unique things about this visit to Santa is that after we would explain to Santa what it was that we “wanted” for Christmas, he would reach down in his bag of gifts and pull something out for each child. Now, the “gift” would be something small . . . but it was SUCH a big deal that Santa would reach down in this bag that held magical mystery and bring out something individually for each of us. You never knew what you were going to get, but because Santa had selected it just for you, it was special.

We like to feel special.

But sometimes we get wrapped up in the fact that we are not perfect and it causes us to reflect upon ourselves negatively. It also causes us to view others negatively.

We lose that “special” feeling and reclaiming it is much more difficult than sitting on Santa’s lap and receiving a gift brought from a mystery bag.

When we start feeling “icky” (not special) – we heap “crap” on ourselves and also on others. We create lower self-esteem within ourselves and also start to view others critically and judgmentally.

We must remember that in the creation of the universe there are dualities that exist, one being the duality of good and evil. God allowed/allows both to exist and we must recognize that both exist within each of us. And that is ok. It doesn’t make us lesser than. It also frees us up from feeling as if we need to be perfect! It also frees us from the role of being the “Evil Police” and charged with the task of religiously judging someone else’s heart.

Jesus uses a myriad of images that illustrate the tension between good and evil.

One being a student asking Jesus what he should do about the weeds growing in the wheat. Jesus replied, “Let both grow together until the harvest” and then, when it is time for the harvest God will decide what is wheat and what is a weed.

Father Richard Rohr writes, “We are all a mixture of weeds and wheat and we always will be. As Martin Luther put it, we are simul justus et peccator. We are simultaneously saint and sinner. That’s the mystery of holding weeds and wheat together in our one field of life. It takes a lot more patience, compassion, forgiveness, and love than aiming for some illusory perfection that is usually blind to its own faults. Acknowledging both the wheat and weeds in us keeps us from thinking too highly of ourselves and also from dismissing ourselves as terrible.”

It also helps us to love others by accepting our messy reality.

We are called to Love . . . and as we learn how to love we learn to accept ourselves and others despite their faults.

Accepting this lesson is one of the ways we can let go of some of the relational crap we hold onto at Christmas.

All things work together for good. —Romans 8:28