Sunday, November 7, 2010

Christmas on a Budget-Random Acts of Kindness

Nov 5, 2010 Loren Vantries

Author - Loren Vantries

Author - Loren Vantries

With the Christmas season upon us, many of us face the stress of the season, and lose much of the joy by feeling that we must strain our budgets buying gifts that are quickly forgotten.

Sometimes, simple ransom acts of kindness can help us restore meaning to the season, and help bring joy to the world.

Last Christmas, when I lived in Baton Rouge, LA, I observed a young woman spend an enormous amount of time studying and pondering a small $8 artificial Christmas tree in the front of the Big Lots store before finally putting it into her basket.

I smiled at her, and commented on how cute those little trees were before moving on with my shopping. Later, I bumped into the young woman again, and notice how carefully she was selecting items, and how few she had in her basket. It was apparent that she was shopping for a young daughter. With Christmas just a week away, I could see the concern on her face as she carefully selected her purchases.

When I was ready to check out, she was in line ahead of me. I watched as she mentally calculated the cost of her purchases. Then she counted the money in her wallet. Sadly, she pulled the small Christmas tree out of her basket and was about to return it to the display at the front of the store.

I said, “Excuse me, young lady. No. No. No. I do not want you to put that tree back. I saw you when you selected that tree. I want you to have it.”

Then I offered her a $20 bill. At first, she refused.

Then, I said, “Please, let this be my Christmas gift to you and your daughter.”

She asked, “How can I thank you?”

I answered, “Just have a Merry Christmas with your family.”

She answered, “Thank you, and Merry Christmas.”

The Sunday before Christmas last year, I brought two plates of Christmas cookies that I was going to set out for “Coffee Hour” at my church. As I parked my car under the overpass near the church, I spotted a homeless person sleeping in a corner of the overpass. I thought about the abundance of Christmas cookies that would be set out in our church that day, and decided to take one of the plates, and set it near the sleeping person.

I did not disturb the person as he slept, but just set the cookies down near him. I went back to my car to collect the other plate of cookies which I set out for me fellow church-goers. I am sure that no one missed the extra plate of cookies in the church.

I do not know how the young man sleeping under the bridge felt about the cookies.

But in both cases, of the woman in the store and the cookies under the bridge, I know I felt the joy of Christmas spirit.

When I think back on Christmas 2009, these two acts of random kindness are what I remember most of the season. Both small acts gave me much joy.

Copyright Loren Vantries. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.

  • Author - Loren Vantries

    Author - Loren Vantries

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