In my Christmas service this past Sunday, I shared a story about a young girl who had helped an elderly man to bag groceries as she and her mom went through the line at their local store. The bagger, seeing what a kind act it was, gave the girl a nickel and thanked her for being such a good helper. The young girl, grasping the nickel close, found a special box for it and would keep it there for many years to come. As an adult she would say how meaningful and long-lasting that simple act of kindness had been for her.
I love the holidays as they remind me of the many opportunities, each day all around us, to offer some unexpected, unforeseen act of kindness to one another. And, most wondrously, these actions become the most powerful acts of love when done anonymously. Each Christmas, I wonder, “What will it be this year?” Honestly, it’s better than waiting for Santa Clause! Last year it happened in the 10-items-or-less line at the grocery store (what is it about grocery stores😊?) The year before it happened as a result of an unexpected visit to my doctor’s office. This year, it happened in a sandwich shop. Can it get any more fun, joyful and wondrous than this? I think not! And the sweetest thing is that these opportunities find us, in unexpected ways, as we simply go through our day. No special effort required on our part! It is just our joy to be servants-in-waiting to answer some unforeseen call for kindness.
Of course, the ideal would be to live this message of Jesus, carried in a simple, ordinary, nickel, all year round. So, my hope for each of us this holy season is to hold fast to our very own nickel, held close in safe keeping by the remembrance of one of the great teachings of Jesus: You are the light of the world. (Matt 5:14). May each of us, more often, wake up each day in pure delight wondering, “What will it be today that will help me to give away my nickel…again? How may I shine a light of hope for my brother or sister struggling with some hardship unknown to me? Just how may I, dear Jesus, spread your message, humbly and anonymously, one nickel at a time?”
Wishing you the wondrous joy of many acts of love given…just waiting there, silently, at this moment, in your very own, ordinary, nickel…