By Nancy Alley
It’s that time of year again…you know, when we can count on having people come to church who are the Creasters… The Christmas and Easter attenders. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to have them and we welcome them with open arms. The thing is, did you ever wonder why they aren’t much interested in coming at other times of the year? I have. I think it could have something to do with the fact that they don’t see what is happening at our church (or any church) as particularly different from the rest of their lives, or more attractive. What if we WERE different from other people? Nicer… more generous spirited… also known as grace-filled. I think that Jesus would be pleased. At this time of year, we have a special opportunity to exercise our grace “muscle” and model Jesus by our own actions. I have compiled a brief list of suggestions of things we could do with that in mind…nothing hard, just fun. Check it out:
- Let someone in front of you in traffic when lanes are merging… maybe even smile and wave!
- Call someone you love just to listen and catch up.
- Write an actual handwritten note. Or two.
- Give the gift of rest and watch the kids for your most sleep-deprived friend.
- When you go through the drive-thru at Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks, pay for the order of the car behind you. (Sometimes that ends up becoming a chain reaction, with all the cars in line doing it!)
- When checking out at the grocery store, ask your cashier what their favorite candy is, then buy it for them and present it with a smile.
- Keep an extra blanket in your car to give to a homeless person when you see one.
- If someone is abrupt or grumpy, just let it slide… or give them a hug (only if you know them!)
- Sweep a neighbor’s driveway or porch.
- Take a few minutes to hold the door for everyone that walks into a restaurant or office. Smile and wish them a Merry Christmas as you do. You’ll get a reaction.
- Buy a bouquet of flowers (or a box of candy canes) and give them away one at a time as you are prompted.
- Tape a note and a dollar to a vending machine. The next person along will be delighted!
- Walk someone’s dog for them.
- Take a plate of cookies to your local policemen or firemen with an encouraging note.
I’ll bet you are much more creative than I am, but you get the idea… look for ways to bring a smile to someone’s face and surprise them with an act of grace. It is habit forming…and we might start to look more like the One we are named for! Above all, have fun and remember to smile. We DO say “Merry” Christmas, right?