by Thomas G. Plante, The Huffington Post
Time Magazine‘s pick of Pope Francis as “Person of the Year” came as no shock to those paying attention to the way the pontiff connects with the masses and inspires people of any faith to focus on what’s important.
The pope chose his name from the famous saint from Assisi, who renounced material wealth — a message that resonates with many especially during the holidays. There is little doubt that he sees this season as a time to help those who struggle, and to seek deeper relationships with loved ones and strangers. He said as much during his time as cardinal in Argentina, and he has repeated these typical Jesuit themes throughout his first six months as pope.
He delights in meeting children as well as the disabled. He picks up the phone and cold-calls people just to say hello or to tell them to hang in there. He drives a beat-up old car. His remark about gays, “Who am I to judge?” was remarkable. And one of the things I like most about him is that he doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously and appears very humble.
What a wonderful role model. He can inspire us to plan a Pope Francis-style Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or other holiday. Regardless of one’s religious beliefs or traditions, following a Jesuit- or Pope Francis-inspired approach at this time of year not only would be a way to make a difference in the lives of others but would result in happier holidays and less depression afterward. I guarantee it…