the holiday spirit

Christmas Eve covers a whole variety of sins, doesn’t it? Those of us guilty of sloth despite the uninhibited and shameless insanity of Black Friday brace ourselves for possible attacks by others as culpable of the same crime. Viscous traffic that clogs the commercial streets is ubiquitous. There is a tension in the crowds everywhere that might affect even the most Zen of citizens.

As I ran errands this morning, I nearly ran over probably four small children by accident — they’re like little gnomes that sneak up behind you as you obliviously slide into your car and begin to back out of your parking spot. It isn’t until you hear a mother scream (is there a worse sound in the world?) at what you might do that you abruptly brake and spare the lives of her little ones. Phew! Mama’s precious tykes will live to see Christmas Day.

I find it ironic that in the season of joy and giving, this tension should exist in the first place. It’s like the moment we are expected to be extra-spiritual and generous, we become small, grumpy, and stingy to everyone but our immediate circles. Is this the change we want to effect on the rest of the world?

I truly believe that we all set off ripple effects as a result of our actions, both conscious and unconscious. Smile at one person, and he might feel seen for the first time in a while. Because of this, he may give a homeless man some money. This man might eat this afternoon thanks to the money he’s received, and so on and so forth.

These ripple effects are usually probably imperceptible to just one person, and might not be that newsworthy. But you never know; I think if you help one person, you potentially just helped the entire world.

So let’s pay it forward and not forget that even that grumpy Grinch you just had a scuffle with in the toy store has joy and love to give, and in some ethereal way that joy and love returns to you.