The sweetest things in life, aren't things......

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Time Reflection

With the hustle and bustle of Christmas time I find that I dread this time of year, more than I love it. Don't get me wrong, I love the reason we celebrate Christmas! But, let's face it,  the over commercialization, stress, and never ending "to do" list  makes me feel more Scrouge-ish than I would like. I have to sit, often ,and reflect on all my favorite Christmas's past so that I won't be such a grump!

 Most of my reflection is on childhood Christmas's. Christmas's centered on giving. My parents would chose a family every year for us to give to. Even when they struggled. Something I have learned from and try to incorporate with my own children. I reflect on service, at the old folks home, caroling to residents who had no family.  I came from parents who can define the words Charity and Christlike. They are always giving to those around them. Our home was always open to others. In fact, I don't remember a time in my life that someone didn't live with us. Christmas's for me were filled with laughter, giving, and traditions. But the one Christmas experience that I reflect on the most is something that sticks with me all year long.
 A lesson I learned about giving.

I believe I was around the ages of 12 or 13, when a good friend of mine, Rivka Satterfield, and I decided to do something special. We knew of a family who had fallen on hard times. We had both babysat for this family and, often times, their home was cold, cabinets were bare, and fridge contents were sparse. So we came up with a perfect solution. We would offer to babysit for free, and while they were gone we would clean their home spotless and stock the cabinets and fridge. We talked to our moms and they were both instantly on board to help us. (We, both, were blessed with mothers who never stifled out our willingness to serve and do good, because they are so good, and for that I am forever grateful!) Our mothers helped us gather up 3 large garbage bags full of food.

 The day came for us to babysit and we couldn't have been more pleased with ourselves. By the time we were through, their home was sparkling clean and their cabinets were chucked full of yummy dry goods, and the fridge had never looked so full of food . I am sure we both left there feeling like a million bucks. We knew that they would be happy and could benefit from such a well thought out act of kindness.

That night I felt pleased with what we had done. I went to bed happy, with a heart full of gratitude for good friends and for service. I didn't know, when I went to bed that night, that I would soon learn a great lesson  from this experience.
I learned something I don't think I have ever shared with my friend Rivka, until now. 

The lady, whose home we had stocked full of food, approached me at church. I felt sheepish, not wanting any attention for what we had done, and tried to avoid her. She grabbed my arm gently and pulled me aside. What she said next  has taught me more about true service and giving, more than anything else.
 She said, "Bonnie, we have been praying for weeks for a man who we know, who has nothing. We have wanted to help him, but don't have the means ourselves to have helped him. When we came home and saw all the food you and Rivka had given to us, we knew our prayers had been answered. We were able to take half of what you had given and give it to him!"  
I can remember that feeling of total awe wash over me. You hear often times the expressions, "We don't have money, to help others." or  " I can barely do things for my own family, I can't possibly help another." But that is never the case. Here was a women who had "nothing to give" ( by the standards of the world and realistically she really didn't have much) yet she gave the truest and  purest gift to another. She exercised her faith and went to the Lord in earnest prayer. Knowing full well, that the Lord would hear her plea. She wasn't complaining to the Lord about her own meager circumstances, she was looking to others with a heart willing to serve.

I look on that experience over and over again in my life. I have learned so much from this quiet and meek disciple of the Lord. She taught me the true meaning of giving. 
Giving doesn't have to be grandiose. I believe our gesture of kindness was needed and not frowned upon by any means, but there is equal need for those small, quiet acts of kindness too.  A smile, a kind note, opening the door for an elderly couple,  helping a young mother with her children, and just like this sweet women, a prayer on another's behalf. Excising our faith for someone else's well being.

When I get a little caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, not just at Christmas time, I think back on this experience. It helps me be more focused and more driven to do good. It shows me how blessed I am to have had such wonderful friendships and experiences.
I am also reminded that every time I kneel to pray, there is probably someone that could benefit from a prayer in their behalf.

I hope that you too, are reflecting on lessons you have learned from others, enjoying the Spirit of Christmas, and most importantly reflecting on all that our Savior has done for us.
Merry Christmas!  


Katie Lee said...

Love this Bonnie ! You have always been such a great example of service and kindness and you are always looking for ways to help others! I love you so much and look up to you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Bonnie, I can't sleep, so I was on FB reading posts. What a great story. Merry Christmas! Sally Jensen

Becca said...

Boonie, this is so sweet! I remember when you and Riv did that, but I forgot what that kind sister said to you about what you did. Thanks for sharing your beautiful thoughts about Christmas--you have always been such an example to me!