Monday, December 24, 2012

My Christmas Spirit

Once again, I find myself in the position of having several posts in draft that I just haven't been able to finish and get posted.  I started to edit one of those a few minutes ago and realized that it just didn't suit my mood today.  I'm sure I'll come back to it, because I learned a lot from that particular post. It is definitely worth sharing, but not right now.

Today is Christmas Eve. Yesterday we spent the day celebrating Christmas with my family.  It was an awesome day and seemed like it ranked pretty high up on our list of "best family gatherings."  The kids (and adults) were all well-behaved and we all just seemed to be more relaxed and low-key than usual.  It felt good and I am so thankful for a family that is so incredible and so much fun to be around.

To be honest, it has been hard for me this year to find my Christmas spirit.  This is usually one of my favorite times of year, but this year I just haven't been able to really get into it. I guess that's understandable but I've been trying to at least fake it for the girls, because this is the first year that Tori has been ridiculously excited about the holidays and Abby is starting to understand what's going on too.

Fortunately, I've had a few things happen in the last few weeks that have helped me work to dig up the spirit that I know is in there somewhere.  Today's get-together with my family was a big part of it...but it actually first started last weekend at work.

For those of you who don't know, I work at a domestic violence shelter/crisis center.  We rely heavily on donations for many of the things we need because, just like non-profits everywhere, we are working to serve more and more families with far fewer resources and much less money than in years past.   Last week, we received a HUGE donation of canned goods from a professor at our local university (whose family was affected by domestic violence while he was growing up).  He has students in each of his classes bring in a few cans each in exchange for extra credit.  This resulted in about a TON of food that we were able to add to the shelves of our pantry...literally 2,000 pounds of canned and boxed goods.  I spent several hours putting just over 500 of the cans away and barely even made a dent in the stack of boxes we received.  I just couldn't help but be incredibly touched by the amount of food that had been provided.  (It also helped that I really really like organizing things and had a blast doing it!)

It wasn't that one person went out and spent an obscene amount of money...each person brought something small, but when all of that was combined it made for one impressive sight.

Then, this weekend I was helping wrap some of the donated gifts that families, businesses and organizations had given so that the women and children who are living in our shelter would still have gifts beneath the tree for Christmas, even if they aren't in their own homes for the holidays.  Admittedly, there were a ton of others who wrapped far more than I did...but I think that actually helped add to my awe.  To look around our conference room and see that each mother and child had a box filled with wrapped, donated gifts from perfect's one of those "chill moments."

Again, it wasn't that one exceptionally wealthy person decided to play Santa Claus...lots of folks came together and all contributed to helping our clients have a much merrier Christmas than their situations would likely have allowed otherwise.

You see - I think what really prodded my Christmas spirit out of hiding is the realization that these seemingly little acts of kindness are the things that we often get too busy to pay attention to.  If you can donate a few cans of food or some toys to a worthy organization, that is wonderful and, by all means, go for it.  But just the same, take notice of the effect that a hug or kind words or just holding the door open for a stranger can have.    

Some of the things that have stood out most to me in these last few months are the little kindnesses that let me know others haven't forgotten what we're going through and that they still pray for us - a sincere hug from a co-worker, a willing ear when I need to talk, a phone call from a relative just to check in, a quick message just to let me know you've been thinking of us.  All of these little things are really the big things that have kept us going - it means so much to have the loving support of our family and friends and I want you all to know how much we appreciate it.

No comments:

Post a Comment