It’s the day before Christmas and soon all the hustle and rushing, the shopping and wrapping, the decorating and lighting, the cooking and eating will be over. (Well, maybe not the eating. Leftovers are wonderful things.) This afternoon I’m going to make an old-fashioned cider-gingerbread bundt cake to bring to my daughter’s house tomorrow, along with some whipped cream.
I hope Christmas 2013 will arrive without any of the wild weather that has been in evidence this month. Santa doesn’t need to dodge tornadoes, slip off an icy roof, or get swept away by floods. And people traveling home for the holidays should be able to arrive safely and on time.
It’s been a difficult, contentious year in many ways and we all deserve a Christmas that’s free of crisis and catastrophe, whether real or manufactured. Let’s put outrage on the shelf along with the Elf. Perhaps it’s even possible to stop yelling at one another on social media. Surely left wing and right wing can come together in the center for just one day without anyone complaining that Christ has been left out of Christmas or we need Festivus for the rest of us. Just give it a rest, already.
It’s Angel Time
If you can spare some time to help the homeless, the needy, the hungry, or the ill, by all means do so. Because here’s the thing: sometimes we need to be angels.
No, not angels with long white dresses and sparkly halos—although that would be fun—the other kind. What other kind, you ask? Well consider this. Every day people everywhere need a little help. They aren’t needy—the kind of folks whose needs constantly expand and can never be met. No, these people are needful. They have a problem right here, right now, that’s more than they can handle.
Like everyone else I’ve heard the old bromide that God never gives anyone more trouble than he or she can handle but I think it’s poppycock. Frankly, I also find it annoying. Our hospitals, jails, drug treatment centers, homeless shelters, women’s shelters, veteran’s shelters, and mental hospitals (the few that are left) are filled with people who can’t handle the trouble in their lives. With help, though, they’ll get through it.
Now, God could send down a host of angels to do this, complete with white robes, halos, trumpets, and shining wings—but that takes a lot of doing. While God certainly has the Heavenly Host at His disposal, the angels, from seraphim to cherubim, are high maintenance. Sending them down here requires a huge investment on God’s part. It means getting the harps in tune, parting the heavens, shining the spotlight, and moving all those celestial beings from one plane to another. God is very busy, usually too busy with the really big things to take on such a big production.
Do Something Kind
So sometimes, just for a day, an hour or even a moment, we can tap into the spark of the divine that is within us all and take on an angel’s duties. Do something kind. It doesn’t have to be as big as saving the planet. We can’t all volunteer in distant countries, adopt a child from Africa, save the whales or get the U.S. Congress to start doing its job. But we can do little things every day if we just look around us.
Let the person behind you in the checkout line go ahead if he just has a few things and you have a full basket. Hold the door for the woman with her arms full. Let the car at the merge go ahead of you. Tell the woman behind the counter that her sweater is pretty. Smile at a little kid. Give a present to a toy collection or food to a food bank. There are lots of opportunities to make someone else’s day a little easier, to put a smile on the face of a harried salesperson, to ease a family’s financial burden, and give someone a Christmas story that they will tell to their friends all year round.
We don’t need to be rich or powerful, or famous to have an impact on other people. We only need to be kind.
There’s no better opportunity for angel time than Christmas. Pass it on.