The Spirit of Christmas is often an elusive thing for us adults. We get busy, and because WE don't have ten-day-long Christmas holidays we have to fit the extra cooking and shopping a decorating and wrapping and planning and partying into the already tight cracks and crevasses of our day-to-day business. Fatigue and anxiety begin to chew at the edges of our cheer and strip us of our awareness of the greater purpose of Advent: To prepare the way of the Lord.
But some people seem to embody the Spirit.
There is a nurse in my office, one of my best friends; whose son, while physically healthy, has the type of academic challenges that have turned her into the kind of Mama bear that the middle school principal warns the high school principal is coming. And while he will likely never be college material, he never fails to rise to the occasion when generosity is required. When hubby and I inherited three kids at once, including our first little boy, Dom said to his mom, "They're gonna need boy toys, mom. A boy needs Guys to play with!" He sorted through his things and sent us a box of Spidermans, and Supermans, and other mysterious muscular be-weaponed creatures that I, as a mom of six girls, had no idea that boys "needed" that made LittleMan feel more at home.
Each year, in our office, we keep our eyes open for a family who has fallen through the cracks at Christmastime. A family with a recent job loss, or breakup, or some other unexpected problem that makes a hardship beyond what the usual Toys-For-Tots type charities can handle alone. This year an offhand comment from a single mom about how charities give gifts to older teen boys and how her son only wanted one thing for Christmas and she just wouldn't be able to do it because dad was so far behind on child support was the trigger for me. They are going to have a merry Christmas.
But the 'one thing' is a PSP, a $140 gadget by itself needing games to make it a useful present - a bit higher than what we usually look at. But Dom? His view was, "He only wants ONE THING, mom? Then we should get it for him!" He's about Babygirl's age, so he went online to help her look for a deal and scored one for a hundred that had games included, and my friend (no slouch in the Christmas Spirit department) bought it. Everybody else got the other things on the family list: The Easy Bake Oven (and the mixes to go with it) and clothes and pillows for mom. And we have a carload of stocking stuffers, wrapping paper and tape, food and treats with some gift cards to a grocery store within walking distance of their house for anything we may have missed.
Each day, as I look at that growing stack of generosity and kindness my heart is warmed and cheered by the love and caring spirits of my co-workers. As individuals we complain and whine and crack wise and make mistakes, but as a group we ARE the Spirit of Christmas. Thanks, Dom, for a little push from the outside (and thanks to his Mom, who clearly taught him well).