I cried at work this week. Yup, tears streaming down my face at my desk.
I was suffering from writer’s block one morning, so I put my headphones on and tuned in to a local radio station online. It was just starting, and I should have known better than to listen with people around me. Every year, for the month or so before Christmas, they fulfill Christmas wishes. The rule is, you have to submit a letter explaining your wish for someone else. They grant wishes for people in the community who need some extra help and cheer this Christmas, who are facing hard situations through no fault of their own. They are one of my favorite parts of the season.
I’ll admit, they make me tear up more often than not, but this one got me going more than most. The woman had recently lost her daughter, and was struggling financially to care for her grieving teenage granddaughter all by herself. Her friends were in the studio when the morning show called her, and they read one of the letters that was submitted.
It was the kind of letter we should all hope someone would write about us. They talked about how even when she was struggling, she was always generous. How, despite the enormous grief she was carrying and the stress, she never complained, and always had a good attitude. How she was a constant light in their lives. After giving her gift cards for Christmas presents, groceries, gas ,clothes and even a simple things she couldn’t afford like haircuts and dog grooming, the morning show host told her she was someone we should all be striving to be like. Her humble tears led to mine.
I love these kind of moments. They shouldn’t be confined to a holiday season, but they serve as a yearly reminder of the call in Matthew 25:34-36. We are supposed to give food to the hungry and clothes to the naked, to invite strangers into our homes and our hearts, and to look after them.
That night my husband and I went to the mall for our annual pre-Christmas shopping trip together. We began the tradition our first year together, that we grant a wish for at least one child in our community. Some years we can do more, some years we just want to. I dream of a year where there aren’t any names left when Christmas Eve rolls around. I know there are, and it breaks my heart.
Don’t let the cynicism of the season drown out the magic. If you’re not feeling the spirit this Christmas, might I suggest you go shopping for someone you’ve never met? Someone who won’t have piles of boxes under their tree this year? Or maybe someone who just needs a winter coat to make it through the winter? Trust me, it’s magic. Your heart will feel completely different after. And all the rest of it that stresses you out, just doesn’t matter quite as much.