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The Best Christmas Gifts are Free

[Written last year…]

Today, as I was driving my son to school, there was a fire truck with its lights flashing, and siren blaring. This truck was headed somewhere important and needed to get there fast. Auggie was letting me know, as all three-year old’s do, that “There is a fire truck Daddy”. So, we pulled over, as everyone should, and let the truck pass. It was amazing to me how many vehicles kept driving. I’m not sure if they saw the truck and said well, they have enough room, or they are in my way, or what was going through their mind. What was so important?

Earlier this year I read the book To Kill a Mockingbird. There was a chapter in this book which told the story of how while a character in the books house burnt down, the people did not see this as an inconvenience, they stepped in and helped the character save some of their things and made sure she was safe. Stopped everything. That book was not based in a time all that long ago, where people helped one another. Now if someone needs help, we just hope it doesn’t make us late for work, school, or any other activity that we are valuing over where those firefighters need to get to.

Fast-forward to this evening, we needed some coffee for the morning. So, I stopped at a local grocery store to pick some up. At the entry way there was someone cheerfully ringing a bell. The salvation army is one thing, I know I will see every year out in front of pretty much every store we go throughout the Christmas season. As I walked up, I noticed everyone ducking their head as they passed by. The bell ringer, every time no matter what, said Merry Christmas and God Bless, to everyone who passed by. I even saw people going in the exit to not have to walk by the joyful man.

I had to ask the man, “Does it bother you everyone, walking by you, does not even look at you.” He said “not at all”. Which surprised me. I had to ask a follow up. “How?”. I loved his response. “God loves them and understands that most people do not carry cash. I am just here to give a smile to someone who needs it”. Then he told me “I have to move to the exit now, a couple who went in the exit earlier are in checking out now, and they have not received their smile”.

These are just two examples that happened in one day. Every day, we rush to do what we feel is the most important thing. We can put down social media for a minute and give a smile to a stranger (those are the people you may bump into while texting and walking). We can take a lesson form the jolly man (who had a white beard and a Santa hat, just saying).

Give someone something that is free. Proof that you see them as a human and that they matter, a smile.

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