Monday, December 3, 2012

The Christmas Spirit

A couple weeks ago, I was at a store called Five Below (kind of like the Dollar store only $5 instead of $1).  I walked through the store with my list of gifts to purchase running through my mind.  I hastily grabbed a couple items and went to check out.  I ended up in line behind two ladies with a cart that was overflowing

"Thirty toothbrushes," they told the cashier who had to scan every single one. Thirty mitten sets, thirty yoyos, thirty little stuffed animals, thirty coloring books. When all was said and done several minutes later, their total was a few bucks shy of $300.

All the while, I stood behind them annoyed, grumbling silently, checking the time, and thinking about what shopping I still had to do; what errands I still had to run. Although I was Christmas shopping, I did not have the Christmas spirit. These ladies, however, did.

After they were finally finished, I quickly checked out with my 3 small items.  I walked outside and saw the ladies happily loading all their purchases into a church van and it dawned on me that all of these things were surely destined to fill stockings for underprivileged children.  I felt guilty for my grumbling.  These ladies had some real Christmas spirit. They were giving of their time, talents, and money to bring a little joy to someone else.  I, on the other hand, was wrapped up in myself - my schedule, my needs, my lists.

This time of year, it is easy (especially for moms like me) to get so wrapped up in trying to find that perfect gift, or checking everything off our to-do lists, or figuring out how to squeeze in one more social gathering that we forget about the things that really deserve our attention during the holiday season.  I am not going to tell you to "avoid getting caught up in the hustle and bustle" this year - I know from experience that is an unrealistic expectation.  However,  I hope this Christmas season you will find some ways to re-center and take hold of the spirit that was evident in the women at that store.  Maybe it is attending a special Advent study or church service.  Maybe it is feeding the homeless or donating gifts for less fortunate children.  Maybe it is reaching out to a loved one you haven't seen in a while.  Maybe it is performing some simple "Random Acts of Kindness" without expectations of gratitude or reciprocation.  Maybe it is simply sitting down with your Bible and reading the story of Jesus' birth with your family.  Whatever it is that helps you feel the true spirit of Christmas; whatever it is that brings joy to you - do it, savor it.  And, when the busyness overwhelms you - we all know it will happen - hold on to that memory; hold on to that feeling; hold onto that spirit.

May God bless the ladies who were in that store setting a beautiful example of love and giving.  May God bless the children who will receive the gifts that were so lovingly purchased for them and the many other children who will not receive gifts for Christmas.  May God bless those who lack the Christmas spirit and those who possess it in abundance.  May God bless those who believe and those who do not.  And, May God bless each and every one of you that you may find joy and peace, happiness and laughter, love and fulfillment this holiday season!  


1 comment:

Shoes said...

What beautiful kindness those women have. On a much smaller scale but in the same spirit a friend and I who co-host a Christmas party every year are trying something new. This year we are asking everyone to bring some mittens, hats, scarves - something to keep little hands and heads warm over the winter and we will donate them to a local charity.

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