I had the chance to shop for a few Christmas gifts for a friend and her family. The only problem was I hadn’t shopped for preteens for quite a few years. I simply wanted them to have a few items that would make them smile and give them a break from the heaviness of their daily lives.
I did my best.
When their gifts arrived on their doorstep the week before Christmas, I encouraged my friend to let the kids open everything. It had been a rough week for them. As simple as the gifts were, they were thrilled. I received several pictures over the following days to give me glimpses of them playing together. I loved it.
They seemed excited, but I think I received the most joy from the process. I knew I had brought a little joy into the kids’ lives; even more, my friend was grateful and momentarily felt a little lighter.
It’s not about physical gifts. It’s about the gift of encouragement for the people in our lives—whether we know them well or not—in the midst of everyday moments. We often help people around the holidays, but any time is a good time to encourage others. This time of the year can be tough. People are more restricted to be inside, not just because of COVID but because of weather in many areas. Daylight each day is shorter, which increases depression. People who live alone see people less. We can leave a small gift on a porch or write an encouraging note. We can pay a bill or mail a gift card. We can listen to concerns and meet needs.
Let’s do that. Let’s be generous with the joy and encouragement we share.