Poetry Saturday—At Christmas

Edgar A. Guest

A man is at his finest
     towards the finish of the year;
He is almost what he should be
     when the Christmas season is here;
Then he’s thinking more of others
     than he’s thought the months before,
And the laughter of his children
     is a joy worth toiling for.
He is less a selfish creature than
     at any other time;
When the Christmas spirit rules him
     he comes close to the sublime.

When it’s Christmas man is bigger
     and is better in his part;
He is keener for the service
     that is prompted by the heart.
All the petty thoughts and narrow
     seem to vanish for awhile
And the true reward he’s seeking
     is the glory of a smile.
Then for others he is toiling and
     somehow it seems to me
That at Christmas he is almost
     what God wanted him to be.

If I had to paint a picture of a man
     I think I’d wait
Till he’d fought his selfish battles
     and had put aside his hate.
I’d not catch him at his labors
     when his thoughts are all of pelf,
On the long days and the dreary
     when he’s striving for himself.
I’d not take him when he’s sneering,
     when he’s scornful or depressed,
But I’d look for him at Christmas
     when he’s shining at his best.

Man is ever in a struggle
     and he’s oft misunderstood;
There are days the worst that’s in him
     is the master of the good,
But at Christmas kindness rules him
     and he puts himself aside
And his petty hates are vanquished
     and his heart is opened wide.
Oh, I don’t know how to say it,
     but somehow it seems to me
That at Christmas man is almost
     what God sent him here to be. —Edgar Guest


Links & Quotes

link quote

These are links to articles and quotes I found interesting today.

[VIDEO] Great challenge from John Maxwell about being our best.

It doesn’t matter what you do … Your Job Is More Important Than You Think.

“You see Agape is all giving, not getting. Read what St. Paul says about it in First Corinthians Chap. 13. Then look at a picture of Charity (or Agape) in action in St. Luke, chap 10 v.30-35. And then, better still, look at Matthew chap 25 v.31-46: from which you see that Christ counts all that you do for this baby exactly as if you had done it for Him when He was a baby in the manger at Bethlehem: you are in a sense sharing in the things His mother did for Him. Giving money is only one way of showing charity: to give time and toil is far better and (for most of us) harder. And notice, though it is all giving—you needn’t expect any reward—how you do gets rewarded almost at once.” —C.S. Lewis

Parents and teachers, this is good advice from Tim Elmore on working with ‘difficult’ students: How To Lead An Outlier.

David Wilkerson has a solid word for those in a difficult marriage: Is There Any Hope?

John Stonestreet addresses Generation XXX: Responding To Our Pornified Culture.

Don’t let him get away with it! How Harry Reid Is Trying To End Debate In The Senate.

Apples To Apples

As I was packing some sliced apples in school lunches I was contemplating the cliché about comparing apples-to-apples. We use this cliché when things are similar, or at least in the same category. If things are dissimilar or in different categories we might say we’re comparing apples-to-oranges.

If your life was in the “apple” category, to what other “apple” would you compare? Interesting question!

You are a unique individual. God has not made—ever—anyone like you, nor will He ever—in all of the future—make another “apple” like you. You are a one-of-a-kind, completely distinct from the 7 billion human beings on Earth right now. No one who has ever lived or ever will live is an “apple” like you.

So comparing yourself to anyone else is always an apples-to-oranges comparison.

Again I ask you to consider: to what other “apple” would you compare?

I believe the only other apple to which you can honestly and realistically compare yourself is: YOU! You can only compare yourself to the God-given potential in you. You are your own apple-to-apple comparison because no one else is in your category. God doesn’t expect you to be an Albert Einstein or a Winston Churchill or a Madam Curie—He just expects you to be you. To be the best you He created you to be.

Earnestly desire and zealously cultivate the greatest and best gifts and graces (1 Corinthians 12:31 AMP).

When you expect nothing less than your very best from yourself, you will help bring out the very best in others too. If your apples-to-apples comparison is just a you-to-you comparison, it relieves the pressure from others to compare their apple to your orange.

Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out (1 Thessalonians 5:15, The Message).

Check out these great quotes about doing your personal-apple-best

  • Doing your best is more important than being the best.” —John Wooden
  • “It was ever Alexander The Great’s nature, if he had no rival, to strive to better his best.” —Arrian
  • “From day to day I do the best I can and will continue to do so till the end.” —Abraham Lincoln
  • “One of satan’s wiliest tricks is to destroy the best by the good.” —E.M. Bounds
  • “To find the best in others, and to give of oneself; to leave the world a better place whether by a healthy child, a redeemed social condition, or a garden patch; to have lived your life with enthusiasm and to have sung with exaltation; and finally to know that one life has breathed easier because you have lived, that is to have been successful.” —Emerson

Do your personal-apple-best today, and stop comparing yourself to another’s orange. When you can do this you will find it easier to encourage others to do their personal-apple-best too.

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