Every holiday, there is something that sticks out to me. This year, it is kindness. And it hasn't come to my attention in that good way of people being so kind that it shocks me. Rather it's absence has loaded me up and made my heart fill heavy.
It's easy to be kind to family. I have the most kind family in the world. They are amazing.
But what has struck me recently is the attitude that I've seen towards strangers.
I have a very dear friends who is a remarkably beautiful plus size girl. Her body is beautiful. Her spirit is beautiful. She is incredible in every way. And also, pregnant, but some people don't notice.
The other day, she was at a restaurant, and she tripped and spilled her food. Instead of getting up to help, people snickered and made mean comments about her not needing the calories.
How is this okay? Where was the person who saw who I see when I see her? Who saw a beautiful daughter of God? Some one divine?
There was no one.
Not one person stood up to say let me help you.
How cruel and selfish this world has become.
I work in a call center. I'm a financial adviser and I help people with their retirement plans and their questions on their accounts. This is one of the craziest times of year for us because people have to make decisions and get certain things in order before January 1 for tax reasons. And you know we are all procrastinators so, these last few weeks are prime for getting these last things taken care of.
I understand it's a busy and stressful time, but I've also noticed something else. A lot of people are down right rude, mean. They yell instead of discuss, they belittle instead of ask questions. I can't believe how many people have screamed at me before they even tell me what I can help them with. This doesn't happen other times of the year.
Isn't is supposed to be the season filled with the Christmas spirit? The time where we try a little harder? Reach out a little more?
Instead we take our aggression out on strangers. Maybe we are a little nicer to those we know and love. But is it ever okay to be a little meaner to the peripherals in our lives? The people we cross paths with for just a moment? Whose pain or disappointment we will never know or understand?
Maybe I have just noticed more of this mean spirit around recently. But is sure feels like this is a trend that is picking up speed. It's one that makes my heart hurt, for myself, but also for the people I love who I see on the receiving end of this meanness so frequently, and even for the people I don't know, but see traces of the hurt on their faces. Even for the people who hide that pain so well I would never guess that it's even there.
So this year, Christmas is different. It doesn't feel as full and wonderful and magical as it usually does. But it has taught me a great lesson.
The Christmas spirit is not just being a little nicer to those I love and maybe trying to do a little extra for someone else.
But it is so much more.
It is kindness.
To all of God's people. Near and far.
It is patience and acceptance and love.
The unconditional kind that can be spread with a kind smile, a hug, a friendly hello.
The type of kindness that realizes there isn't a single person in this world, and certainly not one that will cross my path, who is not a son or daughter of God and deserves to be treated so.
In honor and memory of the one who loves perfectly and sees us all for who we truly are. I hope we will all forget a little about the stress of the season and take time to dwell in that love that he gives us, that surrounds us, fills us, heals us and spread that to as many people as we can. Near and far.
Merry Christmas my friends.