Merry almost-Christmas, friends! Today, I would like to tell you a story. (I know, I know… I think every blog post I’ve written so far has had a story in it… nothing new here.)
Here it goes...
Recently, my sweet Mama reminded me of a little Christmas miracle that happened over a decade ago in our family. Before I start the story, I must say… I am blessed to have a mother who has so often shown me the beauty of giving, even if it feels like there is not much to give. I can think of many moments of my childhood in which my mom taught my sister and me the joy of serving others, and I am so thankful for this gift she has given me.
One of the ways that she demonstrated giving was through the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program. Participating in this program has always been one of my favorite Christmas memories from childhood. We usually picked at least two children, and often, we would pick little girls similar in age to my sister and me. It was quite humbling, but also joyous, for me to think about giving to someone who may not have much… someone who was a little girl like me, who needed to experience happiness and fun… and maybe someone who liked dolls and bows and teddy bears with a similar passion to my own.
Months prior to this particular Christmas season, my mom volunteered to help families fill out their applications for the Angel Tree. My mom remembers that she helped many, many families complete the forms that day, but one precious woman stood out to her. This woman told my mom all about her family, even showing pictures of her little girls. The woman’s story and her strength in the face of trials touched my mother deeply, giving her perspective regarding our own life circumstances at the time.
Months later, the Christmas season was upon us and it was time to pick out our Angel Tree children. Instead of taking ones straight from the tree, my mom asked the Salvation Army for two little girls that were “leftover” after all the cards were returned to the Salvation Army. The forgotten cards, but not forgotten children. Can you guess what happened?? My mom was handed the cards for two little girls, sisters from the same family… and the daughters of the woman my mom had helped months before.
This is one of those sacred moments that when I reflect on it, even to this day, time stands still and joy overflows with the tears. Through the giving and the strength of two mothers'… two sets of sisters were drawn into the sacredness.
In this holiday season, where the greatest sacred Gift is celebrated, take time to give, but also to notice. Because it is in the giving that sacred moments are found, but these moments may be lost if not noticed.
Sacred moments like...
…giving a gift thoughtfully and bringing happiness to someone.
…giving love to a family member who may be hard to love.
…giving yourself grace for the absence of perfection.
…giving a smile, and receiving one in return.
…giving time to something you believe in, or to someone who needs your presence.
…giving Christmas cookies to neighbors, and Christmas cheer and warmth to hearts.
Notice the sacred all around you as we walk together in this crazy, broken world.
Notice the gifts and the giving.
Notice the beauty that exists to redeem the pain. Give the sacred, and receive the sacred, too.