Guidelines: Twelve Days, Twelve Ways

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By Simon Ambit

From the ringing of door bells with Halloween trick-or-treaters to the ringing in of the New Year, the holidays are a special period when we have added opportunities to spend time with friends and family. There is a magic in the air that seems to percolate into our souls. Its energy seems to build and grow drop by drop and is the strongest at Christmas time.

As we enter the period commonly referred to as the twelve days of Christmas, the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” inevitably comes into my head. The song, as you know, carries twelve versus, each verse depicting a gift received. In each of the proceeding versus, the gifts become greater and greater in value as the twelfth day approaches. This cheerful song is from the perspective of the receiver and details what was received by them.

At this magical time of year and as we approach the climax of the Christmas season, I would like to spark a bit of thought about the person on the other end of this song. What of the giver? What are the thoughts of the giver, who in each following day increased the value of that which was given and did so as the carol described to show “true love.” As we think about Christmas and Christ whose birth we commemorate, we think of the gifts that He gave. The many lessons, the miracles, the sacrifice and the service; these were not physical possessions, but they were gifts of himself, given freely without cost.

I invite us all to be givers these twelve days of Christmas. Let us look for ways to lift, to serve, to share and to help. It can start in little ways; maybe as simple as holding the door open for a coworker or letting the other car have the closer parking stall. As we approach Christmas Eve, our acts and efforts can be little more thoughtful, a little more heartfelt, a little more endearing, a little more Christ-like.

Let us give gifts of ourselves. It may be a call or, better yet, a face-to-face visit with a friend or loved one. It may be verbally speaking the words “I love you” to a spouse, child or parent. It may be helping someone clean the snow off the drive, holding the hand of a toddler, sitting with a grieving individual even though you don’t know quite what to say, or praying for someone having a hard time. As we look for ways to be like Him, heaven will guide us.

There is vitality created as kindness is given and as we serve and help others. It intensifies as it is shared and passed along. Let us give of ourselves that we may lift others, for in so doing we are all made stronger. Galatians 5:9 “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.”