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‘Tis the Season – Stories of Kindness
As we get closer to Christmas, our hearts and minds should turn to the needs of others, as we think of those who are lonely, hurting, or in need at this time of year. Sometimes though, it is still difficult to put others’ needs before our own, as we get so caught up with our own needs and schedules. This year, take some time to really see those around you and find ways you can help. Let the following stories serve as a reminder and as motivation for us all to show kindness, not just at Christmas, but all year long.
Gifts for Foster Kids
A Florida man has been giving Christmas gifts to at-risk youth for over 21 years. The man, named Delwyn Collins, organizes a program called Foster Angel’s Giving Tree, where members of the community can purchase gifts for foster children in the area, providing gifts for more than 1,000 children a year. When asked why he has dedicated so much to the program, Collins said, “I just want to show these children there is somebody out there in the community who loves them. My job is to help and give to others. God doesn’t care if we’re rich or poor.”
A Human Chair
A young college student who worked for a moving company found himself stranded in an elevator with an elderly woman for an extended period of time. While waiting to be rescued, the woman told the student that she was having trouble standing. The student, Cesar Larios, bent down on his hands and knees and acted like a human chair for the woman, and the whole thing was caught in a picture. Larios’ employer, Nick Friedman, was proud of the college student, “I think what’s great about it is that it’s a genuine moment caught on camera. A lot of people say the younger generation has lost certain values. But one small picture shows that chivalry and hard work are still very much alive in our youth.”
Neighbors Helping Neighbors
A man who saw that his elderly neighbor’s house was becoming rundown decided to do something to help the man out. Josh Cyganik heard some teenagers making fun of his neighbor’s house, which had paint peeling off of it and needed to be fixed up. Josh posted a request on Facebook to find friends who would be able to gather to repaint the house. The response was overwhelming, and 100 people from the community came together on a Saturday to repaint the house. Afterwards, Josh said, “Yeah, it was a random act of kindness, but to me, it’s more about respect. I was raised to respect the people who came before you, to help others out who don’t have much. Leonard can now sit on his front porch for the rest of his years while feeling good about his home.”
The Good Samaritan
Finally, we have a story straight out of the Bible, and it was one Jesus himself told to illustrate the importance of caring for others.
Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:30-37)
Go and Do Likewise
There are millions of other stories about people showing love to other people. These stories should be told not just to honor those who demonstrated a remarkable act of kindness, but also to show us all how possible it is for us to give back. Your story might not be one of extreme self-sacrifice or rescue from death, but even the small acts you do can mean the world to someone in need. If you know someone who is struggling to make ends meet, set up a rotation where friends prepare and take over a meal each night of the week. If you know someone who is lonely, take an extra minute to talk to them instead of rushing on with your day. In the midst of your suffering and struggles, whether it is with addiction, abuse, financial problems, or relationship issues, reach out to others with kindness and you will see God working through you to help others.