This time of year brings out the best in folks. We feel compassion and love for all mankind, causing us to extend benevolence and charity above what we might have shown otherwise. I see it amongst the small-fry at my school too.
For example, when the thoughtful mother of a kindergarten boy brought in the equipment and ingredients necessary to help the whole class make cookie cut-outs, it was quite evident.
Did kids push their way to the front of the line in order to be first? Nope. They dutifully washed hands and waited with shining eyes for their turn. How about when it came time to roll out the dough, was there trouble in the ranks? Certainly not. Each child waited patiently for the rolling pin to arrive.
Well, the word patiently might be a bit of an exaggeration, but they had to keep themselves busy somehow, for heaven’s sake! And happily, there was a sprinkling of flour on each table with which to busy themselves. They traced tiny fingers through the chalky substance making a variety of interesting tracks. This led to a large portion of the flour falling over the edge, pouring like a powdery, white waterfall down pant legs and onto little shoes. But did that really matter in the larger scheme of things? Not a bit.
What about icing the cookies once they were baked? Was there squabbling over who got which sprinkles to use, or whether red icing was yummier than green? Never! There were plenty of sprinkles to go around. And I do mean plenty since, thanks to several rather heavy-handed applications, I trod on sprinkles for much of the day. Crunch, crunch.
Also, from the liberal smears of red and green food colouring on chubby cheeks, across masks, and over small hands, I’d say both colours of icing tasted just fine. Besides, who doesn’t like two inches of frosting and a quarter cup of multi-coloured sprinkles on their cookies? I know I do. They were masterpieces fit for the finest pastry shops of Paris by the time those cookies were finished, and tiny faces flooded with pride. That’s what mattered.
Can we think of other acts of kind-heartedness we see at this time of year? Almost every day I read on Facebook where folks publically thank the anonymous people who bought their coffee, paid for their groceries, or generally helped out in a time of need. These acts of generosity, without seeking acknowledgment or thanks, restore our faith in the goodness of mankind.
Following in this theme of kindness, I know a doctor who stays in his office long after clinic hours, offering a compassionate ear to those who are in distress, or to folks who simply need to hear an encouraging word from someone who cares. He also calls on folks in their homes, to check on patients that require extra care and cannot get to the clinic, and sits at the bedside of those without family as they pass from this life, ensuring they do not make that last journey alone. These actions come from the heart and are true examples of altruism.
I could also mention our neighbour, Leroy, who lent us a truck and trailer to haul our hay bales this fall since we don’t have the proper equipment. He asked for nothing in return. He was simply extending a helping hand.
If we think of it, there are many such instances each one of us could cite from our own experiences, and not just during the holiday season.
And so, as our hearts are filled with gratitude at this special time of year, let’s each find something we might do to bless our fellow man. It need not be expensive or arduous. Not a big thing at all.
Just a little Christmas cheer.