My favorite part of the Christmas season is the spirit of goodwill that seems to permeate the soul and bring about a transformation in people.
Yes, we all have stories to share about those short tempered shoppers or angry drivers that have fallen victim of the stress and fast pace of the season, but I have found that those few negative encounters are a small minority. I have found, particularly this Christmas season, that feelings of goodwill and expressions of kindness are in abundance.
It seems that the Christmas season brings forth a goodness and gentleness in people that aren’t always as prolific the rest of the year. I see it in the openness of strangers striking up conversations in the checkout line, the quiet, helpful ways strangers are helping strangers, and the random acts of kindness that continue to be paid forward.
This December I have noticed people leaving their quarters in Aldi’s shopping carts so as to benefit the next patron to walk through the door. I have watched, on multiple occasions, shoppers paying for the groceries of another shopper. I have watched countless souls quietly serve through small, Christ-like acts, bringing about personal, testimony-building miracles to the lives of others.
I don’t know if it is that people are kinder this year. Perhaps, in feeling beat down and sickened by the ugliness of the political race, we are all feeling the need to bring a little light to the world. Or maybe nothing has changed and I’m just seeing things I didn’t notice before because my focus has changed this year.
I think perhaps it is a little bit of all these things.
Recently we have personally been recipients of the kindness of others. Just this week a dear friend blessed us with dinner. This friend reached out and asked if their family could bring us dinner this week. This friend, with her own plate filled with commitments and busyness as a mom of four and wife of the bishop, saw my weariness, reached out, and lifted my load. With Christ-like love she not only fed us physically but also fed my soul. She made me feel loved and cared for after a hard stretch of feeling very alone.
Another friend invited our motley crew over to make gingerbread houses with their family. In inviting us over she probably had no idea what a gift that evening was, or how much I needed to get out of the house and do something fun with the kids. She had no idea the blessing it was to partake in her hospitality, her family’s open acceptance and complete lack of judgement, and be able to simply sit without having to worry about the boys and how they would behave. It was, in essence, the “night off” I had been needing. Even though we all sat there together, kids and adults, it felt like a break. It was a gift far greater than she probably even realizes.
Then there was the unexpected $20.00 bill in the Christmas card from my mom and dad for a pizza night on them, giving me a night off from cooking.
And the heartfelt affirmation so unselfishly given in a phone conversation last week with my grandma when she told me I was a good mom and that she was proud of me; words I so needed to hear that day.
I could go on and on…
The point is… the ability to affect someone and help them feel the love of Christ need not be a huge production. Most often it is the small, Spirit-led acts of kindness that touch the soul and change a person’s day.
This is what the Christmas Spirit is.
Rusty had a unique assignment in his photography class this week. His assignment was to learn a new photography technique, experiment with this new technique until he fully understood it, and then teach this photography technique to the other students in his live class.
After much debate he decided to play around with light trails. This is a really cool effect that takes place when moving light is captured with a camera set at a very slow shutter speed.
This magical look is created by taking a light source (sparkler, glow stick, or in Rusty’s case a small, blue LED light) and “drawing” a picture in the air while the camera catches the image of the moving light.
The results are magical.
As I looked over these photographs I was impressed by the affect one little lightbulb could have in a large dark room. Who would have thought such a little light could create something so beautiful.
But the theory is proven.
All that is needed to bring light and beauty to a darkened world is a spark of kindness, a desire to act on that kindness and create something beautiful, and a willingness to slow down and look, choosing to focus on the light instead of the darkness.
Let us all take our humble offerings and #Light the World!
Share you stories of kindness. How have you been blessed as others #Light the World?