There is something about the holiday season that leads to an expectation that we can put the dark things of life on hold, that all should be merry and bright. Holiday movies promise that all will be well in the end if we just believe.
Of course, the world does not always cooperate with our expectations. This week, two of my friends are attending funerals for loved ones. One is nervously awaiting the results of a medical test. Another totaled his car. And these are just the people I know. The briefest glance at the news is an additional reminder that, even at the most joyful time of the year, devastating things happen.
So I’m thinking one of the best gifts we can give this holiday season is kindness. We can give the overworked waiter who drew the Christmas Eve shift the gift of not getting upset if the order takes longer than expected or if the iced tea that we didn’t order is on our bill. We will not require that the colleague who is mourning the loss of a loved one participate in our holiday activities; in fact, we can give him a free pass to ignore them if he wishes. And we won’t say, “You’d feel better if you’d just get in the holiday spirit” to anyone at all.
This year, let’s give the gift of lightening the load for someone else even if for just a moment.