We are one week and two days away from Christmas; memories of childhood; love in the air; Christmas music, cookies, candies, and festivities abound. Our blessings are immeasurable. This side of the holiday is ideal and joyful.
There is a flip side to the story:
The family who have been hit hard by the shut-downs.
The senior citizen who is alone because of COVID or because they have no family in the area.
The person who lost their loved one, making Christmas nearly unbearable.
The off-year parent sharing kids with their ex.
The person who is going through separation or divorce.
The military men and women far from home.
Christmas can be painful when it doesn’t fit the ideal. This year gives us challenges at every turn. Maybe, if we enjoy the frantic rushing and celebrations, and at the same time, remember others not as fortunate, our hearts will be fuller.
Few activities build mental health like doing something kind for others, especially if our giving is sincere. There is a difference between giving out of compassion and giving because someone is watching.
Give with pure intention. If you give the homeless person $10.00 and watch her/him head straight to the liquor store, it is not our job to judge. Give without strings attached. If you want them to buy food, give them restaurant certificates instead of money. Give freely. Give without expectations or obligations.
We don’t have to give much. A ten-minute visit with someone alone or sick is priceless and costs nothing. Even with COVID, we can make a phone call. Families (even without masks) could Christmas carol in their neighborhoods or from the nursing homes’ front lawn. The rewards could be real for all involved, even kids.
We can all hang onto the ideal, the fairytale holidays, but we can add to the traditions by substituting a few gifts and activities with loving gestures of caring.
I attempted an out of the ordinary cost-free act of kindness during my morning walk. Wearing rubber gloves and loaded with six grocery bags, I picked up litter strewn on the side of the sidewalks. Even though my back ached, the results felt so good; I might do it again today. Maybe the absence of trash will unconsciously lift the spirits of those who also walk for their physical and mental health.
A dear friend once said, “Christmas began as a holy day, and then it became a holiday, and now it is at risk of being a hollow day.”
I, too, want Christmas as portrayed in greeting cards and Hallmark movies; but let us not forget about the individuals and families who are not as fortunate. Whether we are the giver or the receiver, heartfelt caring, sharing, and compassionate actions could be what we need this CHRISTmas.
Until the next time: Live while you live.
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