This Christmas was one to remember.
With hoards of packages under the tree, we sit with eyes gleaming, remembering years gone by and reminiscing about our childlike dreams. If there is any magic to Christmas, that is surely it… right? Sometimes getting gifts feels so wonderful, especially if you receive a much anticipated object or a heartfelt letter. This year, however, I learned that the most beautiful gift of all, one to be highly prized above all else, is not getting an object or a thing, but giving warmth, and care, away.
Let me explain.
I’d been wanting to do something out of the ordinary this year, something like visiting the elderly or the homeless. That’s what Christmas is about anyhow– not the material stuff, the everlasting stuff. Things like love, joy, peace, and hope… which are never available for you to buy. They are things that you must invest your time in, and sometimes things for which you must risk your pride in order to gain, and also give away. In my quest, I was overjoyed when one of my best old friends asked me “Hey, we’re going caroling at the nursing home tomorrow, would you care to join us?” I quickly accepted and my nerves began to tingle in my fingers and toes. You might even say I had butterflies, silly as it sounds. I hadn’t done anything like this in quite some time, and nursing homes honestly depress me… so I had to decide that caring for the needs of these people was more important than caring for my own comfort. They are people, and they need care, cheer, and love on Christmas and every day.
When it came time to carol to these dear old folks, what joy I found in my own heart! I looked at them, wondering about their stories and their happiness.. wondering what pained them. It seems our society has a way of forgetting those things, and those people, which don’t seem appealing anymore. We don’t venerate or celebrate our elderly, with their years of experience and wisdom, as some do. As we sang, I saw their many sparkling eyes and bobbing heads out in the audience. I couldn’t help but think what gems these individuals are. After blasting my lungs out to some beloved Christmas tunes, many proclaiming the Gospel & many bringing cheer, I was able to spend a little time getting to know a few of the people. I held their frail hands, and smiled as they told me about their nephews or their grandkids, or their children. One woman told me about how spanking your children is the finest thing you can do! When they heard that I was a newlywed, they giggled a little, and I was happy to have shared a bit of my life with them.
Have a very Happy New Year, and share your life with others when you can!