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Don’s Thoughts: An Unlikely Christmas Tradition

Have you read this week’s Featured Story, “An Unlikely Christmas Tradition”? Anne Forline had a great idea for a local news article. She planned to be writing the article instead of attending her family’s Christmas tradition of feeding the poor that year. After Anne discovered some discouraging news about the article, she was able to participate in her family’s Christmas tradition—which turned out to be a very sweet experience.

At this point, I’ve heard thousands of lemonade stories about very typical life circumstances that are anything but simple or easy. All Anne had to do was put on cold weather clothes and spend the day in downtown Camden, one day of the year. It was simple. Anne’s family-tradition was taken for granted, something she could easily give up for a writing gig. After a painful chain of events, Anne decided to go anyway. Anne showed up. And she received the most unexpected and beautiful gift: hope. Sometimes, just showing up can be the most powerful thing you can do.

Anne’s story challenges me think of all the small, simple things we can do on a daily basis to bring hope into other people’s lives. Attend the church’s homeless outreach that happens to fall on the same night as your favorite TV show. Follow through on that dinner invitation you casually gave the single mom and her children in your neighborhood. Connect with an elderly family member who lives alone more consistently. There are a few more scenarios I can think of in my own life. Anne’s story challenges me to be more intentional, available, and sincere with people in my life. I want to show up.

Think about how encouraged your mother might be if you surprised her with dinner and a movie one day. Think about how delighted that mom in your neighborhood might be if you offered to watch her kids for the afternoon. And think about how encouraged you would feel if you made a new friend.

I hope you’ve been staying warm this week and that you’ll stop by again for another inspiring true story next week.

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