Shhh….Can you hear that? I can. It’s the sound of nothing; no people chatting, no mixers in the kitchen, no TV flicking from channel to channel, no kids hollering and running across the room, no dogs barking. Alright, the dogs are still barking, but our home and our lives have suddenly become normal again. The holiday season has come to an end and, while I’m already planing the gift list for next year, I’m soaking up the silence and enjoying some down time.
After reflecting on the happenings of this Christmas, I came to realize a few things. Our families are made up of some very compassionate and kind people and I even though I’ve alwaly known it, I’ve never acknowledged it before. Let me tell about three of those spirited and big-hearted kindred.
Cooper, 8 years old, was sitting in the back seat of the family car with his younger sister Sarah. The group was transporting from one family function to another when Cooper suddenly and without prompting stated “I’m just so happy right now, Mom. There is so much love in our family and I just love everybody. This is the best Christmas”. Cooper has always been a very kind and sensitive boy, always genuinely concerned about the feelings of others and super generous. So Mom and Dad weren’t very surprised to learn that their son felt this way, but the spontaneousness and sincerity of the little boy’s declaration sent their hearts a-whirling.
My beautiful daughter, Kaeli, stumbled upon the perfect opportunity to share some kindness and generosity while picking up a gift package at the bus depot. There was a gentleman in front of her at the counter. He was also picking up a package, no doubt filled with gifts for his children from far away family members. Christmas is only a couple of days away and most everyone is scrambling and running around trying to get everything done before the big day (and all the stores close). Everyone, including the man in line, is a bit stressed from the harried chaos of these final and seemingly short shopping days. The gentleman finally gets his turn and when it came time to pay, the debit machine stops working! “Cash only” the lady behind the counter announces. Who carries cash anymore? Certainly not the man with a box of presents in his hands that he won’t be able to take home to his family today. This is where my daughter’s kindness and generosity come into play. She just happened to have enough cash in her pocket to pay for her own and the distressed man’s package. He thanks her, relieved that his children will get their presents after all, and offers to make arrangements for payback. Kaeli simply smiles and wishes the man a Merry Christmas and leaves the building loaded with gifts and, more importantly, feelings of great joy and delight in knowing that such a small effort on her part affected a splendid and awe-inspiring moment to remember for another.
And speaking of presents……we all know Santa brings a gift on Christmas Eve to all the little boys and girls; even the naughty ones usually get something. But I know of a young boy who didn’t get a gift from Santa this year. Not because he was bad, but because his parents were on a very, very limited gift budget this year. Knowing their son would be receiving many, many gifts from the rest of the family and also knowing he was far too young – just turned two – to understand why or even know there would be no Santa gift for him under the tree come Christmas morning, the young parents accepted this dilema without feeling sorry for themselves or their son. After all Christmas is about giving, not getting, right? They didn’t let this glich in the Christmas traditions dampen their holiday and they proceeded to have a happy one. Later, on Christmas day, the group went to visit an Uncle and Auntie and Cousin whom they don’t get to see very often. The cousin, also a boy but much older – a teenager – asked the toddler what Santa brought him. Of course the younger boy didn’t know how to answer so his parents announced there was no gift from Santa, but plenty of toys from everyone else. The news of this didn’t sit well with the cousin and later that day while in his room looking at all his stuff and trying to make sense of what had happend, he had an idea. He fumbled through some of his older toys and found a few items he felt comfortable parting with and enlisting his Dads help he wrapped each item with left over Christmas wrap. The items, of course, were to be given to the younger cousin as gifts from Santa. Like I said: Christmas is about giving, not getting….Thank You Cameron!