I was running around doing the usual Christmas errands the other day including heading to the post office to mail my cards and packages. The line was long yet moving at a steady pace. Customers were very patient. As we stood there many of us struck up conversations about our plans for the holidays and to whom we were mailing our packages.The woman behind me shared that she was mailing a book to her son. She showed me the book with great excitement before she stuck it in the priority mail envelope. She told me her son had enlisted the day after 9/11 and he would be in San Diego for Christmas – far, far away from his family in Maine. While many of us might feel sorry for ourselves if we were in her shoes – she beamed with pride about her son and although she said she is missing him she would not have it any other way.
I was on the verge of tears talking with her and realized they are both heroes. Suddenly the little, insignificant stuff that was stressing me out as I prepared for the holidays seemed completely insignificant and selfish when others are sacrificing so much this season.
The holidays have a way of illuminating what we are happy about in our lives and what we wish was different. We think a lot about what we have and what we’ve lost and we miss those we love who can’t be with us. So as you celebrate this season I hope you are celebrating a joyous year with all your loved ones near and dear. We all know that some years are better than others. So, please think of those who might be having a less than Merry Christmas this year. Maybe they are missing their loved ones or they’ve lost a loved one this year. Maybe they are struggling with illness or significant stressors in their lives. Maybe they are alone.
We’ve shopped, decorated, cooked and cleaned to prepare for this week. That’s all part of the magic that is this season. But the true magic happens in the most unexpected ways when we reach out to friends and strangers to lend a hand, a shoulder and a kind word – to give more than we receive. Merry Christmas – may you experience the magic!