I’ve often heard the phrase, “This is my favorite time of the year!” In fact, those words seem to come out of my own mouth every year starting with Thanksgiving and ending by year’s end. Many of us enjoy the time of family and gratitude extended during this month-long celebration. It is almost comical to observe how people treat one another during this time. The reason I find it amusing is largely due to the fact that when January starts, there seems to be a national reset that occurs. I am not saying everyone turns back into irritable, detached members of society whose sole emphasis shifts back onto themselves… but many do.
For the more fortunate, their children eventually grow weary of all the toys given during this time of year. The abundance spills over, creating trip hazards all over the home. Meanwhile, the less fortunate hold on dearly to the one gift they received, playing with it to the point that it breaks. But rather than throw it away, they still cherish it because it is all they have. Some people cannot afford to clothe themselves, so they wear whatever they can find to clothe themselves. Ragged in appearance, disheveled, the small selection of outfits they have will wear prematurely; clothes worn too many times because of the lack of a wardrobe.
The season ushers in a feeling of warmth and compassion. It almost demands that we all act accordingly, whether we want to or not. It seems to draw the best out of us, reaching into the well of goodness that has laid dormant and untouched throughout the year. I am just as guilty as anyone for patting myself on the back for my generosity and giving during this season. But the simple fact remains, no matter how much is given, it will never be enough. I think it could be, but it would take all of us to accomplish this. Unfortunately, too many are unwilling to extend any beyond the point of inconvenience to themselves.
Sure, there are abrasive people no matter where you go during the holiday season. That does not bother me so much because they are staying true to their nature. What bothers me more is the people who lose all sense of genuine affection toward others once the holidays are over. If all their kind deeds and generosity dry up, it makes me wonder if their best intentions are packed away with all the decorations and put into storage. When sight of the season is lost, life goes back to “normal.”
Putting material possessions aside, even the treatment of each other far exceeds that of the other eleven months. Cheer is spread throughout the month of December, with words spoken of best wishes to most strangers we encounter. Think about how often you encounter a total stranger any other time of year and wish them well. It is so easy to ignore everyone around us, that I would venture to say we all do it. What would happen if the same generosity and caring that we share during the holiday season were to continue into the new year? Perhaps some of that encouragement that was so popular only a month prior would carry some of us a little further into the new year. With continued generosity, more stomachs would be fed, and more clothing provided. More toys could be given to brighten up the faces of children, igniting laughter and joy in their hearts once more. No longer would people have to wait eleven months to open their hearts up to one another. Instead of a contagion that devastates, smiles would infiltrate the darkest corners of every heart. Booming laughter would echo the halls, bringing an abrupt end to the chilling silence. Creative energy would burst forth seeking ways to benefit the life of another.
We all carry lots of baggage with us throughout the year. Some of the baggage should stay behind. If there was one gift, I could ever receive from a total stranger this Christmas, it is this. When you go into the new year, bring one piece of luggage with you; a carry-on bag filled with love for others.
To everyone out there, I wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
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Categories: Love People