Opinion Photo

This week, as we make the big approach to all-things Christmas, we might be flooded with memories of days gone by. 

The kids who grew up, the parents who passed, reliving the special moments we shared with friends and family around a table or a festive tree. It is sometimes hard to be joyful when there is grief and sadness. So, we hold on tightly to our family members, kiss our kids a bit more (than they like) and happily greet our neighbors, striving to be merry. It helps.

The spirit of Christmas is evident in our generosity. We are a “giving nation.” During this season of giving, we open our hearts and checkbooks, give toys, blankets, shoes, jackets, food and time to those in need.  

In 2020, we gave $471.44 billion, which works out to about 2% of every American’s disposable income. More poignant might be the random acts of kindness that shows us the world is still one, big, beautiful place. 

It is the mystery person in the car in front of you who buys your coffee at the drive thru. The neighbor who decorates the yard for the family next door who just lost their dad a few months ago. 

The lady who stands outside the shopping plaza holding a big cardboard sign that reads, “God loves you.” The carolers who grace your door with holiday songs. The children who bring hot cocoa to the local fire department. The folks who bring gift baskets to the nursing homes and those who work tirelessly to bring a little cheer to those who are less fortunate.

Sometimes we focus on conflicts, politics or worries. News is often unpleasant and even infuriating to read. Yet, it is the holidays that might help us “breakthrough” the noise and fill or minds with our own tunes. When a young nurse asked an elderly man who was visiting his wife in a nursing home how he coped with the “all the depressing problems in our world,” he laughed and said, “It’s easy because I don’t see the world through printed headline. I make my own headlines.” 

Husband loves wife today. Lost puppy is found. Nurse helps patient feel better. Teacher praises child. Parents sacrifice for their children. People are kind. He pointed out that happiness is up to each of us. Every day.

As this year comes to an end, it is good to reflect on how much we cared for others, donated to charities, gave of our time, effort and love to those in need. It may not be a perfect world, but the spirit of the holidays makes it about as good as it gets.

So, before the hoopla of the season passes, soak in the warm glow of the real meaning of Christmas. We give. The 1905 story of “The Gift of the Magi” says it all. 

It depicts the husband who sold his beloved gold watch so he could buy his wife two jeweled hair combs for her long, beautiful tresses, while the wife cut her hair and sold her locks so that she could buy a gold watch chain for her husband’s watch. 

Buying presents? The joy is in the giving, not the gift. 

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local Realtor. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at judy@judybluhm.com.