This is the month that we're all busy with the hustle and bustle of holidays. And sometimes in our hurry to check everything and everyone off of our list, the joys of the holiday season can be long forgotten in our rush to shop, wrap, send, create, bake, attend, etc.
It seems that as we sit in the aftermath of bows, ribbons, torn wrapping paper and a tummy full of Yule tide foods, we stumble out of our Christmas coma to pledge that next year will be different. We want next year to be more about family and less about gifts. We want to personalize things and really take time to hear what our loved ones are telling us. We want to be less materialistic and more appreciative. Yes, these are the resolutions that come before we even hit the New Year.
This year I know a woman who has pledge throughout the days of Christmas to give a gift to people each day. Now she is not a woman with great means and resources so she must go beyond purchasing a few meaningless things to give along the way. Instead she calls a shut-in neighbor; as someone walks by her wheelchair she will look into their eyes and smile her infectious smile; she might have the opportunity to set the table where you'll sit at the senior center; when introduced to her she'll remember your name; if she says she'll pray for you about something you can know that she truly means it and will pray with all her heart for you. She is my hero, Patricia Abbott Carrico.
While working at the library I find that an odd phenomenon occurs occasionally where a book will just jump off the shelf at me. When I pick it up to reshelf it I can usually understand why a particular book is coming to me. Last week the book '29 Gifts' came to me. It was much the same premise as my friend. The book suggested that what ever is going on in your own personal life, you will become richer for dedicating 29 days in which to give 29 gifts. The book asks you to keep a journal as you go through your 29 days. In the book sometimes the gift would be as simple as providing a tissue for someone, letting them get in front on you in a line, handing them a quarter for the parking meter. It doesn't have to be big and fancy it has to be heartfelt. The idea of course is for all of us, no matter how poor, aged or sickly we may feel, to focus outside of ourselves. In doing so we are bound to feel a sense of energy, healing and a new love for our community at large.
This year when I sent out Christmas cards I sent thank you cards instead because I really wanted to focus on how grateful I am for the person I was sending the card to and I wanted them to know in my own words why I am so grateful for them.
Another gift I'm giving is that simple smile. I am shy and it's easy for me to keep my head down and just go about my day but I'm making special effort to smile to all I pass by and see. Some people look away quickly as though they're embarrassed, others smile tentatively back, some call out a greeting. What I really hope is that it helps them to give a smile to someone else that they'll see along their journey. Yes, it can all begin with a smile. And in my heart I believe those smiles will illuminate the world on a special night that's fast approaching
Merry Christmas to all!