The Season is Upon Us Now - Dec 2011


"The Season is upon us now, the time for gifts and giving....."

Those are words from a song John Denver sang during a Muppet Christmas Show, what seems like a long time ago.

"..and as the year draws to a close, I think about my living.."

And I think a lot about how I live, especially in the season of focus on what we want, and what to give that might top last year's gift.

And yet, I am hearing some wonderful things this Christmas Season. Common, ordinary people doing some not so ordinary things. And I am inspired by people who go a step further than throwing some dollars in the red buckets. I like the little red buckets. I save dollars so I have them to put in more than just one as I shop. I think it is easy to give that way.

I am inspired by the extra effort people are going to to make the holidays special for those who are less fortunate. First on my list of inspiration is one of my customers who came into the shop soon after Thanksgiving. She had the name of an elderly person she got from a Christmas Tree somewhere in her shopping. The woman wanted place mats and napkins. My friend had a pattern, and she bought some really wonderful Christmas fabric and all she needed to make 4 beautiful place mats and cloth napkins. She did not ask for sale fabric. She did not buy the cheapest thing she could find. She did not go to a box store and find a ready made set. She bought the best she knew. I cut her fabric and rang up her bill. What a gift she was giving--and she still had to cut and pres and sew, sew, sew!!! I am deeply touched, and I know the woman who opens that gift will be thrilled.

Having been a member of more than 6 different congregations in my life, I have often heard people say that if something was to be given to poor people, they will be happy for anything. Or that it is just for the church, quality doesn't matter. I have been trying to figure out for years why someone would give something they would not give a member of their own family. I love hand-me-downs and shopping for a bargain at Good Will or Gift and Thrift. Yet, I am inspired to hear stories of people giving and thinking first about what the recipient would really appreciate.

I am also hearing of "Anonymous Santas" paying all but the last penny of toys laid away til almost the minute. I read of a woman who stood in the layaway area, and when a person who seemed to have needs beyond their means, came to make a payment on their lay-away--she stepped up and paid the balance. Where ever it started, it has inspired others to follow her example.

I really love that I am seeing people modeling the idea of giving the best they are able to give, and giving in very unexpected ways. I just finished a gift for a friend. It is so awesome, ( even if I say so myself!!!) I would like to keep it for myself. My friend is not expecting it, and she would not know the difference if I gave her something else. But I won't. I love to give gifts that I would enjoy receiving.

So this year I am looking for ways to be my best and give my best..... inspired by those who go beyond the expected. Ordinary people giving in extraordinary ways.

If I do not have time to write again before Christmas, I wish you all the Peace, Hope and Grace that this season celebrates. The birth of a Child who grew in stature and in favor with God and those around him. And his radical ideas changed the world. Merry Christmas to all. Let Peace begin in with me--how I think and how I treat those around me. .............Rachel

Kay Shirey