Well, Merry Christmas everyone! This has been an interesting Christmas for me. Admittedly I started out this season being a little cynical about how much the holiday is changing. But over the last few weeks I've heard so many stories, experienced some pretty amazing things, and I guess just been shocked over and over. I can't let today pass without sharing some of those stories with you.
Maybe the biggest shock for me was when a stranger in line paid for my lunch a couple weeks ago. I was taken aback by the kindness. All he said was "Hey, it's Christmas." I teared up a little walking out the door. I knew it was just a kind gesture because he paid for another woman in line's lunch as well and I overheard his friend paying for someone's lunch one line over. I later realized that the reason it moved me so much was because I was surprised. I had it in my head that people don't much like Christmas anymore. Oh sure you get the rare friend who is obsessed with Christmas, but for the most part what I hear is about how materialistic it is, or how depressed it makes people.
A friend of mine recently was given a shocker of Christmas gift. A car. It was given to her by an older couple that was friends with her family just because they didn't need it anymore and wanted her to have it.
I read a blog post recently about a family being told someone was going to pay for their kid to go to private school an extra day every week.
In fact this year has been filled with even just small stories of kindess. A mom being given a can of soda by a stranger who had accidentally bought two, a mission having too many volunteers to help serve food to the homeless, or even just the fact that I sort of thought people didn't bother with Christmas cards anymore and then received more than I've ever received in my life this year.
Then there was Do Good: WNY, something that my church participated along with three other churches in the area. The pastors, all friends, promoted unity between churches by trading pastors and worship teams for the month of December. Maybe this doesn't seem like a big deal to you, but if you attend church you know----this is a big deal! There tends to be a lot of competition and criticism between churches and the churches involved in this had some history with that. It was amazing to see the unity, the friendship between the pastors. And additionally we all combined our resources to bless our area. We did a flashmob, handed out gift cards to families doing their shopping, and donated a lot of money to good causes. But the point wasn't "Hey look what we did" it was promoting anonymous acts of kindness and I saw a lot of it spread around Buffalo.
Did you hear about the donor who paid of all of his local Kmart's layaways? It just seems like I was bombarded with stories of "good will" this season.
I feel like there was a time when Christmas was just a time of year that people did nice things for one another just because "it was Christmas." Maybe their moods were up because it was the time of year they got to spend with family and the spirit of the day was a happy one. Have things changed so much that stories like these shock me? Or am I just getting older and more cynical? At any rate, I feel I've been put in my place a bit this year.
Christmas is still a time for generosity and kindness.