Yes, I’ve been missing in action in your mailbox. I know, I know, I know. I’ll try and do better in 2021. Like me, many of you can’t wait for next year. This has been a year full of surprises, ups and downs, and challenges all around. You are not alone if you are feeling lost in a desert of fear and anxiety, are out of work, or quarantining from family and friends this season.
This year, Christmas will look very different than in past times for me. There will be no large gathering of family at our home, no big feast that takes days to prepare, no laughter that fills the room. In fact, my husband won’t even be present for most of the day. Instead, he will be at the hospital, doing everything in his power as a nurse to save the lives of those that are gravely ill due to the pandemic.
On the upside of things, for weeks, I’ve been watching people put up their Christmas trees early, lighting their homes with beautiful strands of lights, and decorating their yards with snowmen and reindeer. Usually, I’m the one that doesn’t want to see any of that stuff until after Thanksgiving, so not so sure why, but it warmed my heart to see it early this year.
There is something about Christmas that holds magic for me, even under stressful situations. I think of my favorite Christmas movie, It’s A Wonderful Life, where George Bailey’s life hasn’t gone as planned, and he is contemplating jumping off a bridge on Christmas Eve. His guardian angel appears just when he is most needed, and shows George how his life has actually affected others in such positive ways and how different life would be for those in his life if he had not been born.
I love this movie because it’s exactly how I think about life. There are things we may do in life that will make a world of difference for someone else. Sometimes, we won’t even know that we even had an effect on them or their life. Kindness can make a world of difference to someone, at just the right moment. I believe there is no act of kindness that is too small, and no smile that is never not needed. We just don’t know what the person next to us is currently going through.
I remember a couple of weeks ago, I was standing in line at the post office. I was in a bad mood and the last place I wanted to be was in the post office full of “COVID-19” people. Then, a very elderly couple walked in. I witnessed how just the simple act of opening the door and walking in, took both of them working in sync to get this accomplished. Next, they had to fill out the correct shipping label and seal the box, all of which seemed to be a challenge. I tried to mind my own business, but it became impossible to stand idle and listen to them struggling with what is a simple task for me. I stepped out of line and helped them fill out the correct label, and then I used my tape and sealed their package for them.
For me, I did nothing but a simple act of kindness with nothing expected in return. But later, as I reflected on the incident, and the mood I’d been in, it warmed my heart that I was there, in a place that I didn’t want to be, and they were the ones who actually helped me learn to smile again that day.
In the current book I am working on, one of the main character’s, Gideon Miller, is a young man whose life hasn’t gone as planned. In a moment when he least expects it, someone comes into his life out of nowhere, and has the power to change everything.
So, in closing, as we go through the next couple of weeks, I wish the very best for you this Christmas season. Let it not be about material things, but about being in a state of mind that includes spreading kindness and joy to everyone around you.
Merry Christmas from my family, to yours..