Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Cheer

Every year for as long as I can remember we have done this family tradition we call "Christmas Cheer". It's something I probably came up with years ago when we were spending Christmases alone since our family was so far away. Those years were a bit lonely and I wanted to focus instead on the joy of the Christmas season. I'm not sure who came up with the label, maybe Zach or Kayla. In any case it's something we look forward to every year.

This year Zach and Kayla are old enough to understand that Christmas can be challenging for people who are alone or who have fallen on hard times. In the past we have spread our Christmas Cheer around to our neighbors by delivering them plates of Christmas cookies or loaves of pumpkin bread. We will do that again this year but we managed to add something new to our plate this year.

Zach and Kayla decided to give away their good student certificates to the men who sell newspapers on the street corner on Sunday morning. These men are out there every single Sunday whether it's raining or 100 degrees. They work hard, and I have often wondered if this is their only source of income as they often appear bedraggled and and unkempt. Many a Sunday I've driven out to the street corner and received my newspaper from the same gentleman. He always smiles, a cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth. Greets me with, "Good Morning Miss," and then, "Have a nice day." There's something about that interaction that blesses me, maybe because there is kindness in his eyes. It made perfect sense for Zach and Kayla to give their free hamburger coupons to this man. And they were excited to do it.

We drove through the intersection last Sunday afternoon. Zach dangled his arm out the window, hollering, "Excuse me, excuse me!" The newsman hustled over to our car and we all hollered, "Merry Christmas!" Startled briefly by our yelling he paused, recognition spread across his face as he looked at the coupns. Then he did what he's done every Sunday morning, he smiled and said, "Thank you have a nice day."

It was a small kindness to be sure, but one that Zach and Kayla talked about for the rest of the afternoon. "Mom, do you think he'll share his coupons," Zach asked. And, "Mom, I wonder if he'll use them today." Kayla said.
I just smiled and shrugged my shoulders. Our season of spreading Christmas Cheer had I better go bake my cookies. We've got some more cheer to deliver.