Monday, December 17, 2012
This Christmas, hubby and I decided to try to put more emphasis on helping those in need instead of buying too many gifts, that we don't really need, for each other. We adopted two angels from the Salvation Army Angel Tree at the mall. These are children of all ages who have gotten caught in the middle of an economic down turn and who are too young to be able to fight their own way out. We have given money to those without, bought breakfast for the elderly who had trouble paying their bill at a restaurant and helped those who couldn't take care of themselves. Meals on Wheels did a collection for poor, elderly or disabled, housebound men and women in our area. Over this past weekend, hubby and I made up six boxes of personal hygiene items - three for men and three for women. The fact that these individuals have difficulty preparing meals and taking care of themselves saddened me greatly. I wish we had the means to do more; maybe someday we will. Today I drove to a neighboring town to deliver the six boxes. My elderly neighbor went with me and the feeling of thankfulness and joy affected him too. Later, this afternoon, I took him to the doctor. He was thrilled to have me go with him to his appointment. Even though it meant that I would miss my exercise classes, he needed me, and I felt happy to help him. I can go to the gym to work out tomorrow, but he needed me today!
Throughout all of these activities, I have experienced an increased awareness of the meaning of Christmas. I can actually start to feel the message of the season begin to take hold in my heart. There is a smile on my face and my friends have commented on how happy I seem. They are right, I do feel happy and thankful for all the gifts that I have in my own life. This inner happiness (my inner spark) stems from the joy of giving to others and the hope of a brighter tomorrow. I've read Spark People articles about being thankful and how it can affect your mood and outlook on life. I can tell you now, from personal experience, that being thankful and caring for others can make you a much happier person. I have always been a fairly happy person but assuming an attitude of thankfulness and giving to others has brought me a sense of peace and purpose. We may have taken the opportunity to give to others this season but we were the ones who received the biggest gift of all. We received the gift of joy in return.