On the third day of Christmas, Christ revealed to me: the kindness of strangers given out for free.
After I hung up the phone, I raised my hands and shouted, “It’s you mom! It’s you.”
Although I only walked beside my mom on this earth for a short time, during those 13 years, she taught me such valuable lessons – in my eyes, things that far outweigh the knowledge of solving algebra equations, assembling a dresser from IKEA or how to carve a hairpin turn in a slalom ski race.
My mom was a giver.
She gave her time to teach art in my classes at school. She her gave encouragement to those around her who were also battling cancer – inspiring them to keep on fighting, keep on living, keep on dancing. She gave her love to me as a daughter so freely and innocently; around her, I knew I was more valuable than any precious stone on her wedding ring, any doctor that she visited with, any medicine that might just keep the cancer from coming back.
So it’s no surprise that any time I hear these next words, my mom will forever be the first thing I think of: Random Acts of Kindness.
This was a phrase I heard her use so often, something I saw her put into practice even more. Whether it was passing out boxes of Krispy Kreme doughnuts to kids at Disney Land, or purchasing a new washer and dryer for a friend’s family who really needed them … she was always giving. Giving from her heart. Living with such compassion and grace.
At Christmastime, many of us give gifts – wrapped in shimmering, gold and silver papers, tucked into velvety soft stockings, mailed in heavy-duty UPS boxes to arrive by December 24th. Some sort of gift, packaged like this, is probably given to you each year. Maybe you remember some of these toys and books and gift cards … or maybe you’ve forgotten about most of them.
But my guess is that the moments where someone has given you something spontaneously – as a random act of kindess, are moments you will always remember.
Yesterday, my cousin called me to share a story that happened to her at work this week. While manning the drive-thru window at a local burger restaurant, a customer told her, “You know what, pay for the meal of the person behind me, too.” She told me how this put such a smile on her face, seeing someone give to another without even knowing who, exactly, they were giving to.
What happened next truly captures the Joy we find during this time of the year; a chain of six people ended up paying for the person behind them in the drive-thru line. These people wanted no recognition. They just wanted to give – give, because they wanted to bless someone else; give, because they wanted to pay forward the gift they had also received.
Hearing this story, I couldn’t stop thinking about my mom – how thankful I am that she shared this lesson with me. Random acts of kindness are things that all of us can practice. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if giving was more wired into our brains than sports stats, income brackets and the price of gas at the service station down the street?
“You will be glorifying God through your generous gifts. For your generosity to them will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 9:13 (NLT)
Random acts of kindness – Joy that we are all capable of sharing this season.