There’s something about the days we find ourselves in that makes me think extravagance this holiday season might be just a bit inappropriate. Oh, I’ll still string lights on the house, and trim the tree, and spin old Bing crooning “White Christmas.” But when it comes to giving gifts, small and simpler feels right. There’s no way on God’s green earth I could give my wife a shiny new Lexus with a red bow on top, but even if I could, such a gift seems braggy right now. And I’m not sure any version of braggy will serve us well in the days ahead. Regardless of how you voted in the election, our future seems rather unclear. In other words, we’re simply not sure what the new year will bring.
Now if you think I’m afraid of what’s ahead, I’m not. But I would advocate for a little humility as we take our next steps as men and women and families and teams and companies. The writer John Dickson defines humility like this: "The noble choice to forgo your status, deploy your resources or use your influence for the good of others before yourself.” I like that, mainly because it starts out with the phrase “noble choice,” a phrase that appeals to strength instead of weakness. Far too many people, especially men, would place humility in the weakness category, and for that reason find the virtue rather soft and uninspiring. I know I often do. But if we could see that word in a different, actually more accurate light, it could be good for you and me, and all of us.
A noble choice to use whatever you’ve been given for the good of others. Yes, I like that. Brings to mind the word “sacrifice,” doesn’t it? The men I admire most in life are those who have been willing to make sacrifices for the people and places and things that matter. And those men are without exception exceptionally strong as opposed to weak or soft. I’d have no hesitation also calling them noble.
But we started by talking about Christmas gifts, didn’t we? Look, if you’re able to gift your wife or girlfriend or significant other with a shiny new Lexus, then go for it. She’d no doubt love you for it and want to repay you in wonderfully carnal ways. Then again, she might far prefer you making the noble choice to forgo something you wanted to do and do something she wanted to, which might still lead to repayment in wonderfully carnal ways. I mean, you just never know. But the same might go for your kids or your parents or a good friend or your company. How about offering them the gift of yourself, your strength, your kindness, your support – giving whatever it is that you’ve got that works in the direction of their good?
Humility. It may be the quality most needed in men in the days ahead. Because, I mean, we just don’t know.