• 41°

Medicine for our spirits

Is your Thanksgiving turkey smaller this year because of fewer guests at your table? Are your holiday dreams lacking sparkle? And why does Rudolph’s nose appear dimmer? The answer is simple; it is, after all, still 2020!

Every year I host our neighborhood Bunko Christmas party. A group of women gathers to celebrate our friendship, exchange silly gifts we fight over and eat decadent food. I bake my lime coconut cake, which always seems to be a hit, and festivity abounds.

My friends and family know I typically become Mrs. Claus around the end of July each year. I decorate early and plan, plan, plan. Not many love the holidays as much as this old girl who still presses her nose to the window on Christmas Eve to catch a glimpse of Santa or angels on high. After July, if I experience a sad day, you will find me at Hobby Lobby walking among Christmas aisles staring at ribbons, ornaments, and holiday décor. My blue days suddenly turn to red and green, and I am good to go. This year was no exception, except for one thing: the aisles were full of others doing the same thing! Yes, folks were buying Christmas supplies in summer, seeking relief from not only the heat but the blues.

I waited until the last minute to cancel our Bunko extravaganza due to the pandemic. Because we have not gathered since March, most of the gang was not surprised. I could feel the blueness surround the neighborhood as folks are exasperated with 2020. How could Mrs. Claus spread a bit of Christmas sparkle without baking a lime coconut cake?

There is nothing better to lift our spirits more than by giving, especially to children. We canceled the party, but why cancel the gifts? Now, we are gathering toys for children in need of a smile. After sending my party canceling notice yesterday, already in my foyer are a large yellow Tonka truck, a doll, two games, a cuddly rabbit, puzzles, and a wagon full of blocks. Much more is on the way, and with each gift, I am beginning to see gloom starting to fade. This year our spirits require a bit of medicine. Not just a vaccine, but a shot for our souls concocted of hope, caring, kindness and giving. The side effects are smiling, a warm sensation in the heart, and the ability to see sparkle clearly. Plus, this medicine is free! However, sadly, for many, it is hard to obtain.

Countless people have suffered this year. If you are reading this in the comfort of your home while your family is in the kitchen preparing food amid laughter, consider yourself fortunate. If you have a job, a car in the driveway and your child has a computer, consider yourself blessed. Many folks have lost their homes, jobs, and income this year. Many children who need a computer for virtual education find themselves falling behind. Over 260,000 American families have lost the laughter of loved ones due to COVID-19.

A car pulled into my driveway this morning. The doorbell did not ring, but I heard someone on my front porch. I was just beginning this story, so I quickly ran down to see who it could be and say hello. I ran to the car just as he was leaving and stopped him. I thanked my neighbor, and we chatted for a while. His son died suddenly two weeks ago. Yet, the first person to put toys on my doorstep was the man who had lost so much. His grief does not diminish this Christian neighbor’s understanding that others suffer too. He needs no medicine for his unselfish spirit.

When we are so consumed with how much we have endured this year without seeing others’ needs, we need a prescription for our souls. If you are complaining about wearing a mask, missing your vacations, or sitting at home feeling sorry for yourself, hang a stocking on your fireplace and fill it full of others’ needs. Your spirit will soon see there should be no complaining. We can learn many things from this crazy year, but the number one thing we should take away is, “Baby, it ain’t all about you!” When we care for others above ourselves, we can not only tackle a pandemic but revive a spirit that nothing can kill.

On the first Christmas, God unselfishly sent His child to teach us all to love one another. The least we can do to thank Him is to unselfishly give to a child. It is then you will see your spirit sparkle and shine brighter than even Rudolph’s nose.