The holly is on the mantle. The fragrance of pine and cinnamon mingle together to create a nostalgic reminder that something unusual is happening. The swirling garland wrapping around porches and lights in every window seems to extend an invitation of goodwill to passersby. Almost every house prepares an offering of fresh baked cookies and cakes to share with visitors, including the delivery person bringing packages of the season.
The atmosphere fills with not only yummy fragrances but also a sense of joy and wonder. Little children can hardly contain themselves as the mystery and excitement surrounding this time of year crescendos with each passing day. The jovial man in the red suit takes more toy orders than any online resource. Parents lament about how they will get everything finished in time for the big day. While December 25th happens every year at the same time, somehow, it always manages to catch us by surprise! In spite of the rush to get things done, there is something magical that lightens the air and the heart just a little.
As we all rush around from store to store this Christmas and holiday season in search of the “perfect” gifts, maybe we can take time to ponder the offerings that have the most significant value, yet, do not cost a penny.
In our world that is becoming more and more isolated, thanks to technology, loneliness looms all around us. So, one of the gifts you and I can give to someone else is our time, perhaps to run an errand. What about the gift of kindness, both in words and deeds? Give a stranger your smile; the return on this gift might surprise you! Let someone with only a few grocery items go ahead of you in line. Drop a few coins in the Salvation Army bucket; the sound they make as they jingle will lighten the heart of the bell-ringer. You get the picture! Be creative. More often than not, the return on generosity and acts of kindness is far greater than we can imagine, but we won’t know without putting forth the effort.
To all of you, my friends, I wish the very best for you and your family this holiday season. Safety in your travels, lightness in your step, and joy in your hearts. Happy Holidays!
To my Christian friends and family, I pray that this holy season resonates within your hearts the wonder of the Christ child, Immanuel. Merry Christmas!