Kindness and community are treasures anytime, but there are certain moments when they mean so much more. When we are lonely, struggling and feeling hopeless, an infusion of kindness alters our perspective and lights up the darkness that threatens to consume. Here is a story from a friend of a friend. Although I have never personally met this woman, we share this common experience; kindness has brought hope in hard times.
Several years ago we went through a dark season in our family. My husband had lost his job. He became very depressed, which meant that he really struggled finding a new one and became very uninvolved at home. Christmas was coming, EI had run out, and my husband was working very part time. Our finances were unbelievably tight, plus our home situation was very bleak, with commitments at church, I didn't even have time to prepare, such as tidy the living room to put up the tree or bake cookies with my kids.
God started answering prayers I didn't even know how to pray. I couldn't afford to buy my husband a Christmas present and didn't have time to make one, but then I won a print from his favourite comic strip. A friend showed up at our door with a Christmas tree, cleaned our living room, and set up the tree with the kids. Then two days before Christmas, I was trying to figure out how I was going to find time to get to the store so that my family would have dinner on Christmas Eve and breakfast Christmas day. (The irony of my life - I was so busy planning a dinner for 100 homeless people that I couldn't find time to shop and feed my own family!)
Then the local police department showed up at our door. They blessed us with a Christmas hamper. As well as the traditional turkey dinner and gifts for the kids, it included extras such as a quiche that became Christmas Eve dinner, croissants that became Christmas morning breakfast, and it even had cookies my children could put out for Santa on Christmas Eve.
These three examples are the biggest ones of a season where everywhere I turned I found myself reminded that Christmas started with God's gift to us, and He is still blessing His children.
If you are someone you know wants to share a story here, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will keep posting these stories until I run out!