Our view: It’s about two weeks until Christmas.

Christmas should be a peaceful time, a holiday where many can reflect on the religious meaning of the season as well as enjoy time with family and friends.

But there is stress involved. We struggle to find the right present. We work to prepare an exceptional holiday meal. We aim for the unattainable – the perfect Christmas portrait of family, friends and church – when the items we truly desire are attained at no cost.

Here are some gifts, powerful and free, we can share during this holiday season.

Kindness: Did the guy in the big pickup truck cut you off in traffic? How about the lady who held up the grocery line while her spouse searched for the correct brand of block cheese?

These seem like a big deal but we know they are not. Breathe deep. Be patient. Remember we all make mistakes and each of us has been that driver or that shopper.

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.

Tolerance: In these politically turbulent days, opinions on a variety of subjects are bound to be divergent when family and friends gather. During the holidays, give it a rest.

And when you encounter strong-willed people of a different faith, sex, creed or race, remember to actually listen to them rather than argue.

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Forgiveness: One of the greatest gifts we can provide our fellow man is to forgive. This is a gift to the recipient and the giver. When we refuse to forgive, we suffer. Even the great Joseph was tasked with forgiving the brothers who sold him into slavery.

Genesis: 50: 17 ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept.

In conclusion: A bit more kindness, tolerance and forgiveness is a recipe for Christmas fellowship and joy.

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