Another year comes to a close, and the holidays are here once again. This year, as so many of us struggle with the challenges of bringing light to the darkness let’s take a moment to reflect upon why this season can bring hope and healing into our lives.
One of my favorite holiday traditions is to watch Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. I prefer the George C. Scott version, but there are many to choose from. What I love about this story is the healing of Scrooge. He has all the money and possessions anyone could want, and yet he is a bitter, unhappy man. What breaks his heart open to compassion and charity is the duel knowledge of his own mortality and the plight of one small, sick child. It is loving and giving that bring Mr. Scrooge joy and well-being.
Which makes this an excellent time of year to bring light to someone else’s darkness. In other words: G-I-V-E. Give time, give money, give kindness, give a helping hand to someone who really needs it. There are many ways to do this. Shelters for people in trouble (women, children, homeless, etc.) are always in need of resources. Look around your house. I bet there is an extra winter coat around you haven’t worn in years. Or what about that spare toaster sitting in the back of the closet? Most of us have way too much stuff, and this is a great time of year to bring bounty into the lives of those who are doing without.
And let’s not forget the shelters that take care of other beings. Animal shelters desperately need supplies (like food, blankets and toys), money and volunteers. Helping our four-legged and winged friends lifts our own spirits.
Charities and Non-profits that help others are easy to find if you have a spare $10 or $20 to give. One of my personal favorites is Worldbuilders, run by best-selliing author Patrick Rothfuss. His organization matches 50% of donations made to Heifer International via his Team Heifer page. Visit them HERE. Its a great charity that uplifts the lives of whole communities. Or, there is the favorite charity of On the Wings of Dreams, The Potomac Valley Audobon Society. These people do a lot to enrich all our lives through environmental work. Their website is HERE.
Give a little. You’ll feel good. And like Laura remarked to me today: like a snowflake falling into water, the little ripples are felt a long way away.
But, perhaps your own circumstances don’t allow for donating money or resources. Perhaps your are too busy yourself to volunteer or clean out your closets. You can still give. You can give a whole lot every day with the smallest effort. You can smile at strangers, hold doors open or just give your patience. The ways we interact with other people are the most powerful acts in the world. Kindness, simple kindness, creates positive change everywhere around us.
There are so many people out there shouting very loudly about what’s wrong, and who’s to blame, and who is right. Seriously, that’s all just a lot of wind, stirring up bad feelings and creating anger and despair.
Reality is the person standing next to you. Reality is the old person with a cane who needs your seat. Reality is the mom with the cranky toddler who needs your glance of understanding instead of your judgment. Reality is simple acts of kindness, tolerance and patience. That’s how we change our world. Now more than ever we need to step up to the plate and choose to live in a world where what we say and do have positive consequences for ourselves and others.
People who are stressed, afraid and angry need our compassion, too. Remember that old saying about ‘you can’t fight fire with fire’ ? Fire needs our water, our love. Our open hearts ready to see and understand.
Politics and media do not really run the world. We all run it together by bringing light into the dark places. For ourselves, for each other. One smile, one kind word and one helpful act at a time.
A Blessed Holiday Season to all Peoples and Beings of the World.
Peace be with you.