Yesterday served as a powerful reminder for why Christmas is such a special time of the year.
My wife Gimalle and I spent the afternoon and evening in the home of long-time friends who invited us and other friends to join them for a Christmas meal.
As we had all met before it felt like something of a reunion but what really made the time spent together so very special was just the sheer enjoyment of each other’s company.
Certainly the meal was outstanding and I was able to prove to myself yet again that my capacity for gluttony and over-indulgence has not diminished as I have aged. In fact, arguably, it is growing proportionately at the same rate as my waistline.
It has long been said that the Christmas Holiday season brings out the best in many of us. We all smile a little bit more, become irritated a little bit less and seem to experience spikes in our patience.
Prior to going to our friend’s home for the evening it had been agreed that there would be no exchange of gifts – material gifts – and that the gift each of us would bring to their home would be that of our own company and to enjoy the company of everyone else.
As we drove home Gimalle and I reflected on how much fun and how enjoyable the evening had been and began pondering how to spread the message that it is possible for every day to be Christmas in terms of the added warmth we allow into our hearts, the closeness we feel to our friends and family and the sense of peace, happiness and joy that pervades our lives.
Last week we discussed the gift of Random Acts of Kindness and, in addition to all the fun we had last night, I sensed the importance of extending this even further.
We live in a world that contains places made ugly by the people who inhabit them and, indeed, 2015 was the year during which the media seemed to report almost daily outpourings of acts filled with such hatred leading to terror, violence and numbing disbelief.
It is easy to fall into the belief that the world is no longer a friendly place and equally easy to forget that these barbaric acts are being performed by a tiny percentage of the planet’s population.
It is said that the greatest fear in each of us is the fear of rejection and that our strongest desire is for acceptance.
At Christmas time our levels of acceptance burst through the roof: hatchets are buried, feuds are put on hold and anger is left outside as friends and family come together to celebrate the season.
So in addition to making Random Acts of Kindness a daily habit we began discussing how much better the world might become if we made equal commitment to Random Acts of Greetings, Warmth, and Acceptance and begin viewing strangers as his friends we haven’t met yet and as people worth getting to know.
Next time you are in an elevator filled with those entranced by their shoes and those texting furiously, take a second and break the hypnotic state those folks are in by introducing yourself and wishing them a warm, wonderful day.
Undoubtedly when you do this you will be viewed as a person to be avoided and perhaps even as one in dire need of psychological help.
My best guess though, is that if enough of us chose to do this and chose to stop by the table of others in restaurants, take a moment to introduce ourselves and wish them bon appetit, and if we persist undaunted in this mission then maybe, just maybe over a long period of time our efforts will spread and others will begin to do the same.
And, just like the famous commercial from many years ago, they will tell two friends who tell two friends and so on and so on.
And maybe, over time, we will begin to see all others as worthwhile and deserving of our acceptance and perhaps in reaching out to the world this way we can make a Christmas Day at some point in the future truly a day where peace on earth has become a dream realized.
Imagine if that can be started by one stranger simply reaching out to warmly greet another.
Are you that person?
Merry Christmas and may 2016 be your best year ever.
Till we read again.
Finally, after months in the works, my company’s new website is up. Please take a moment and visit www.strategicpathways.net . Browse through this site and then click on the “Contact Us” tab or firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you think.
Your opinion truly means a lot to me.