What does your Christmas look like to you this year? We are promised colder weather for Christmas Eve, in the midst of almost 70°F days we’ve enjoyed celebrating in short sleeves. This year, we’ve made space and time for wonderful memories and gifts that have not been thought of since last Christmas. We’ve looked back over holiday cards with pictures of friends through the years.
I’ve been thinking about how fortunate we are to live in a community of optimistic people who do for others, just by reflex. Every day is a new surprise!
We are all modeling Christmas to those around us. People look to all of us for “how we’re doing,” even if we don’t see it. The guiding principles we’re taught as children—faith, hope, and grace—sustain us each day and they shine through our actions and deeds.
We never know the impact of what we can say and do for others today. A kind word we share with people we work with, the encouraging word to someone struggling, an anonymous gift to a stranger that turns their world around. We don’t always get to see the impact of our actions, but they matter. Words matter. Time matters most.
That neighbor you look in on, to see if they might need something since you’re headed to the grocery store. That call you make to let a friend know their yard looks great since they spent 36 hours putting up lights! That visitor who appeared at your front door because they just finished baking and wanted to share. Each kind act brings smiles.
We thank you for every kindness you’ve shown to us this year, your words and ways you’ve shown your appreciation to our team, taking your time to care and support us.
And we are grateful for all you have done for our community—your thoughtfulness has made the holidays possible for so many. It’s easy to overlook the acts of kindness we are shown by others. It’s not that we take them for granted. It’s just that lives are so busy that we don’t have time to truly reflect on all the actions that happen every day.
We’ve made our list of the things you did to keep the holidays bright this Christmas season.
Here’s some of our list of what you’ve done:
Our community went all out this year, making sure that everyone in the Brazos Valley who are at risk of food insecurity had a good holiday meal. For the 25th year, the KBTX Food for Families Food Drive was held on December 2nd, but this year there were drop-off locations in Madisonville, Franklin, Hearne, Caldwell, and Navasota, in addition to the Brazos Center. This year you gave over $236,000 as well as food. It leaves a hole in your heart to think of what would happen if our community didn’t act as it does, year-round, but it is especially important at the holidays.
Around town, you also found volunteer preparing meals for medical workers who were serving extraordinary hours. So many of our health professionals are key in saving lives on a daily basis. Now that the focus is on them a little more, they are most precious to us, more like family to us, even if we have never met them before, because they’re on the front line of healing.
You found time to support the Salvation Army Angel Tree this year, as in years before is so important to us. Whether you went to Post Oak Mall to get an angel from the tree, and see what the child had asked for, or whether you donated to a general fund that supports the Salvation Army, your thoughtfulness made a difference.
For so many of you who are active in churches and religious groups, this year was so important as you all grouped together to answer the call for warm clothing, blankets, and backpacks across our town. Some of you gave funds to make sure that seniors had a little help in paying for utilities this year.
You all came together to support local merchants this year, especially many of our independently owned small businesses. Every time you shop local, the money you make here stays in our community and ultimately enriches all the improvements we continue to see across town.
When restaurants reorganized how they served patrons, you all supported curbside pickup and called ahead to help keep businesses open. This year for many restaurants, when you bought gift cards for friends and family for the holidays, you assured the restaurants could stay strong.
These are the actions on a large scale that many people see, but what about the people and deeds we don’t see, but make a major difference anyway?
Faith, hope, and love fuel our actions that drive our lives when no one is looking. As children we see our parents helping us identify toys that are gently used to donate to those who have none. As we outgrow clothes, we see our parents donating them to families in need. If someone’s home burns down, so often we see civic groups join the Red Cross in supporting trying to help those affected to begin again in a new place.
Hope comes in the most unexpected ways, and it is found in the phone calls you are making every day, or dropping in unexpectedly (or a planned visit) on a neighboring senior to see how they’re doing.
Faith is faith in things unseen, or acting on a hunch when you cook enough to share with a neighbor who you haven’t seen getting out on their own in a while. People have a hard time asking for help, but when you show up at their front door, or call them on the phone, telling them you’re heading to the drug store, do you have any prescriptions that they can pick up for you, those “random acts of kindness” you do make it easier for people to share what it is they need most.
Love is faith in action, and the golden rule is to return actions of love and compassion in return even when it doesn’t always feel great to do it. The driver who cut you off as they moved into your lane to get ahead? Smile and keep driving wisely. You never know what’s going on inside someone’s world. That is a truth across so many folks these days.
Sharing love is taking five minutes to remember a senior’s birthday, sending them a card and letting them know you’re thinking of them. Weekly phone calls say “I love you” to the people in your world—whether friend or family.
Rescuing pets and posting news about found pets are ways in which we all can show love. Nothing makes a child happier than to learn that their beloved pet has been found. The time you take in spotting a gallivanting little escapee and posting it on Brazos Lost and Found on Facebook, or nextdoor.com gives people hope and strengthens their faith.
Many people are lucky to live in communities where people do for one another at holidays, but we’d like to think we are doubly blessed to live in the Brazos Valley where this is just part of everyday life for us here. Thank you for all you do for others, at holidays and throughout the year.
Sending our love and best wishes for your Christmas, 2020.
Chelsea & Cody Jones