I’m going to say it straight-up: I dread the Christmas season. I understand and appreciate the real point of Christmas, of course – the birth of Immanuel, God with us in the form of a tiny, vulnerable, life-saving baby. Yet every year, it seems, the real point of Christmas gets overshadowed for me, obscured by the myriad tasks — buying, wrapping, decorating, baking, card-mailing, socializing, traveling — that little by little push God with us and his love into the background.
Today’s newspaper is plump with sales flyers, and the malls are packed with Black Friday shoppers — tell-tale signs that Christmas is bearing down on us. Yet amid this explosion of rampant materialism, I can’t stop thinking about this post that I wrote back in August. I’ve been pondering what Mother Teresa said about doing small things with great love, and I’m wondering: might this Advent be the perfect time to make that simple philosophy a part of my daily life?
Beginning Sunday – the first Sunday of Advent – I’d love for you to join me in aiming to do one small thing in great love for each of the 24 days of Advent. I’m not talking expensive and grandiose. I’m not talking complicated or ornate. Let’s keep it simple – one small gesture or a good deed every day from Sunday until Christmas day.
Buy coffee for the harried mom behind you in the drive-thru line.
Bake a loaf of banana bread for the widower next door.
Quietly pick up your spouse’s wet towel from the bathroom floor.
Write a love note and leave it on your daughter’s pillow.
Mail a card to your elderly aunt in the nursing home.
Volunteer an evening at your favorite non-profit in town.
Pick up a few pieces of trash along the sidewalk or bike path.
Buy a beautiful scarf and donate it to a women’s shelter in town.
Tape a thank you card to the top of the trash bin for your garbage collector.
Look the supermarket cashier in the eye and smile as you ask how her day is going.
If you’re Triple Type A like me, you might want to brainstorm a list of 24 small things in advance. But I suspect that even if you don’t plan your list, you’ll find more than enough small things to do.
The month of December is hectic. There are gifts to purchase and wrap, cards to mail, cookies to bake and shrubs to drape in lights. But amid the flurry of holiday activities, let’s take a few moments each day to celebrate the real reason for this season by doing one small thing with great love.
Can we do this thing? Can we remember that God’s amazing love for us is the real reason for the Christmas season? Are you with me? #SmallThingsGreatLove
“No one can do great things, but each of us can do small things with great love.” — Mother Teresa