Boy, do we need the holiday season

Published 5:31 pm Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Yesterday, I was raking leaves. As the breeze blew the leaves to the ground, I thought I detected a scent of evergreen. When I did, I imagined the leaves were snowflakes gently falling. Also, I swear I could see a sled coming over the hill with children’s laughter filling the air.

Yes, the holidays are just around the corner. Thank goodness! I am especially grateful they are because our country desperately needs them.

A lot of folks look upon the Thanksgiving and Christmas season with dread. They see it as too much work and effort. They believe it is too commercial or too expensive. In other words, they have lost the essence of what the season means. They, along with the rest of us, need to turn this time of year back to making the holidays what God intended them to be.

This year our country has experienced political upheaval and discord.

Our nation has been slammed by mother nature and terrorized by evil.  We have lost countless citizens because of anger and severe mental issues that resulted in rampages and innocent deaths.

As citizens, we can’t seem to stop taking sides and calling each other names all in the name of thinking we are right.    

Our lives are boiling down to being defined by political affiliation, race, or gender. Our conversations often are in the form of text and social media. Our books and papers are on a screen and love is being reduced to a pink heart emoji.

Or, so it seems.

In truth, I do believe we are better than that. I believe the holiday season can bring healing to our collective table, but it will require effort from all.

“For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten son.”  Christmas was his love in motion.

Kindness and love is the essence of the holidays. To give to another expressing how much they mean to us is simply Christmas. To share a meal with those we love and being thankful for our bounty is simply Thanksgiving.

This holiday season why not take our personal holiday journey on a road trip? Each one of us can do more to spread the spirit of the holidays and heal not only ourselves but our country.

Perhaps, we should buy one more toy for Toys for Tots or give two more cans to a food pantry. Could we send an extra dollar or more to  Puerto Rico, Houston, Florida or Las Vegas? Can we take one more poinsettia to the nursing home or to an ailing friend?

We need to make the holiday season shine brighter by caring for our communities. Let’s not buy all our gifts on line because it is easy, let’s buy a few from a local store that needs to survive. Don’t we need the walk anyway?

Can we give away more smiles, prayers, forgiveness, and gifts from our heart as well?

Evil can fade only by putting goodness in motion. We can’t sit at home and forward it on our computer. We can’t continue to spread discord hiding behind the internet, and we can’t heal our nation by getting caught up in our differences.

This time of year, let’s ask ourselves what can each of us do to give a layer of human kindness to warm this country? Isn’t it our responsibility to defeat the evil that confronts us? If so, then each person needs to be called for service.

Each year I am reminded of a Christmas long ago. I was 17 years old and living in LaGrange.

I was the typical teenager whose life was centered around “my life.”   

I don’t know who was responsible, but a group of us decided that instead of giving gifts to each other we would pull our resources together and give gifts to a group of underprivileged children in our town.

We held a party, complete with Santa Claus, in the fellowship hall of First Methodist. What became an idea grew into a day filled with children’s laughter, opening presents and eating lots of delectable sweets.

Eyes popped as a little boy opened a box that held a big yellow truck.

A five-year-old girl held her first baby doll so tightly that a truck couldn’t pull it away. Tears brimmed in her eyes as well as all of ours.

Human kindness filled the church and filled our hearts because we had moved it beyond ourselves.   

As a nation, let’s rake the clutter from our own lives. Let’s find the joy in spreading the gifts of kindness, love, and thankfulness so that our children’s laughter continues to fill the air and God’s grace falls gently upon our land.