The gift of acceptance

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, December 28, 2016

When the song of the angels is stilled, when the star in the sky is gone, when the kings and queens are home, when the shepherds are back with their flocks, the work of Christmas begins: to find the lost, to heal the broken, to feed the hungry, to release the prisoner, to rebuild the nations, to bring peace among the people, to make music in the heart.

~ Dr. Howard Thurman

Well, here we are again in the month of December. Whether you celebrated the Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or Bodhi Day, most likely some type of gift was exchanged between you and someone else during this season.

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Now, I can’t speak for you, but at times I have a difficult time accepting gifts. This may be because I feel not in control when given a gift, or somehow unworthy, I really don’t know.

It usually manifests in this way for me: I immediately have to return the gift in some way, shape or form. That is to say that if I accept a gift, I must immediately give a gift in return. I am intentionally working on this as I am worthy to receive the good that comes my way and at times it is a struggle for me.

Let’s face it, some people do give with no strings attached and my not being able to accept affects other areas of my life, especially around prosperity and abundance, and those gifts the Universe sends me. It’s a process.

This is a difficult time of year for many. People suffer from depression and family issues can sometimes loom large. December can be a challenge for many because of the holiday season. But I want to talk about another kind of acceptance now. This kind of acceptance is not just for the holiday season but for all of the seasons of our lives.

Accept difficult people! Don’t try to change them (as if you could really change anybody in the first place). Don’t tolerate them. Just accept them. This is not to say that you do not maintain your personal boundaries. No one is saying that you should let people walk all over you).

Accept those people who truly get on your last nerve when all you have is one nerve left and damned if they don’t get on that one.

Accept those people who seem to be totally unaware of the fact that what they do has an impact on others. Acceptance is the gift you give to yourself but also to those people who have no qualms about demonstrating, in word or deed, that they do not want to be where they are, or doing what they are doing. Those people who speak harshly, roll their eyes, suck their teeth and show up late without any explanation. Just be willing to see things differently. Remember, the world doesn’t have to change, only the way you see the world needs to change.

Try not to believe that their behavior has anything to do with you. Try not to be impatient or give them a hard time. Take the high road this holiday season and just accept them. When you accept difficult people, it’s a shift in perception.

Accept them in your heart because you know the truth. Every human being is a spark of the divine, with inherent worth and dignity. Some folks forget this about themselves. Others don’t know it because no one has ever told them so or treated them like the precious person that they are.

Some people build walls around themselves because of past wounds and will cleverly hide their fear with nasty dispositions, surliness or an attitude of indifference.

The greatest gift you can offer someone is the gift of acceptance. Love is seeing without judgment. For all you know, your acceptance may be just what that difficult person needs to open their heart and to renew their faith in who they are and to encourage them in what they are doing.

Accept people for there may come a day when you are having a difficult time and will need acceptance by someone else. Don’t expect them to change, but change your perspective about who they are and who you are as well.

Reverend Michael Carter serves as consulting minister to the local Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Tryon. Information about the fellowship is available at

~ Rev. Michael Carter