I had planned to decorate our Christmas tree this morning. I started last night but due to my ridiculousness it takes hours (yes hours with an 's') to just get the lights on the tree. A pre-lit tree would save tons of time but I love our tree and so every year, despite swearing each previous year that I will not be so weird about the lights ever again, I find myself (with no-one but myself to blame) wrapping each branch carefully with lights so the cords are as invisible as I can contrive. I am a prisoner of my own obsession but finally last night, after trying to convince myself that it would be just fine to walk around the tree stringing lights in my wake, I have decided to embrace my weirdness (re: lights at any rate) and I actually enjoyed the process. That still left me with all the rest of the beauty to bestow on our Christmas tree this morning.
Sadly - for my tree-decorating plans - David had a flat tire on his way home last night. He was obliged to do the entire changing-of-the-tire-in-a-business-suit routine at the side of a busy artery in glaggy, ugly, traffic-y slush. Poor guy. And this morning greeted him with a heavy list of things that had to be done asap. But the tire needed to be fixed or at least attended to. That is where these two stories meet.
The concept of reaching out to others at Christmas is pretty embedded in the season. After all, we are celebrating the birth of Christ. As those who profess to follow Him it should really be all about what we give rather than lists of what we hope to receive. It is all too easy to fall into the trap of making lists of shopping to do (for the gifts we want to give), wrapping, baking, parties, decorating, making, and whatever else makes up Christmas for us. And in that trap forgetting (or turning a blind eye) to simply help others. To perform small acts of service that will make life a little better for someone around us. Sometimes we even do something big or bigger - the gift to charity (which is wonderful to be sure), the trip to the homeless shelter to help prepare or serve a meal - but charity does not need to be something that can be quantified on a tax return or signed up for somewhere. Most significantly it occurs where it is all too often harder to give. At home. There are always small acts of kindness that can be offered. Little sacrifices that can be made. Often at such an insignificant cost to the giver that it seems churlish not to give. But it does require a desire to love unselfishly and a willingness to put aside personal agendas for a moment or two. That is something that I am always reminded of at Christmas time - a yearly prompting to recommit to being a better, more loving, genuinely kind person. To be Christ-like as much as I can be.
So, my tree is still un-decorated but the tire issue is taken care of. I hope it helped relieve a little of the load for David - I know it helped me. On the 2nd day of December, my advent activity was just a little loving help. A good part of Christmas.