There is so much noise and light and hustle and bustle that a lot of delightful things get covered over, obscured and overlooked. A small child's look of amazement at the "fancy" Christmas lights, the joy on the face of a frail family member as their days of boredom and illness are broken by family visits, the person with little or no family who feels a little less invisible when a friend calls or drops by.
As much "Joy of the Season" as we enjoy, there are so very many people for whom this is a tough time of year. When you struggle to make rent, Christmas can be a stretch and a bad cold that requires a trip to the drug store or an unpaid day off work can make things even worse. Many people over the years have shared memories of a Christmas where they were laid off only days before and the panic often has faded into a memory of a Christmas where we learned to pay more attention to the true reason for the season. But for folks in the midst of chaos, who can only foresee a future of persistently dismal, marginal living, it becomes hard to pay attention to anything but keeping it together today.
So today, say thank you to the bell ringer and cough up the cost of a latte instead of pocket change to add to the pot. Look around your neighborhood for someone who might find a small treat a big blessing. Ask your pastor if there is someone in your church family that is shut-in or has limited resources who would appreciate a simple meal either delivered or shared. Include your children. I hear so many folks who remember with particular warmth times when their families worked in food pantries or bought for Toys for Tots.
The closer we draw to The Holidays the more challenge it is to keep focus, live our values and balance opportunities wisely.
Choose to be the light. This is where the best memories are built.
No one lights a lamp and puts it under a bowl; instead it is put on the lamp stand, where it gives light for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine before people, so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5: 15-16