"For I've grown a little leaner, grown a little colder, grown a little sadder, grown a little older..." (From: We Need a Little Christmas, Jerry Herman, Lyricist).
What are you wishing for this Christmas? On my Christmas list is HOPE for me and for the world. I sense a lot of darkness and despair and want to sprinkle Hope molecules into the atmosphere. Hope is not a fake feeling tweeted to make people feel "happy." Hope encourages us to continue living and striving despite the odds weighted against us. I do not have statistics to prove this but I believe hopeful people are happier people.
Hope, however, is often buried under our personal sufferings, setbacks, hurts and resentments. Daily, there is something or someone dragging us down, and finding hope feels as if we’re reaching for that unattainable star billions of light years away.
Hope is closer than you think, however, and often begins when we offer hope to others.
It can be as simple as sharing basic necessities to those without, along with smiles (true smiles radiate through masks), hugs/elbow bumps, and reaching out to others via cards, phone calls, emails, text - just reach out!
Yes, the boss still yells, the bill collectors still call, your "F" on your test still burns, or the nausea from chemotherapy still lingers. Know, however, that you did something positive for someone else in the midst of your own suffering. It will have a positive effect.
Dig deeper and find more gifts of hope through active listening, gratitude, patience, and respect.
Here are some concrete examples to help you be a better Hope-giver.
Stop talking so others may speak.
Do not look at your watch or cellphone while the person is speaking.
Stop judging, even if you do not agree with this person.
Stay awake and alert (unless you are very ill).
Appreciate the people around you. Pray for them if they drive you nuts or annoy you.
Adopt a grateful spirit as opposed to negativity and being critical.
Say thank-you and mean it.
Take a deep breath and smile.
Play with your children (grandchildren) and read them books. They grow up really fast.
Set aside your personal wants to spend time with others.
Give people the benefit of the doubt before jumping to conclusions.
Make a fruitcake. They take about three hours to bake - you'll learn patience.
Look people in the eyes when they're talking or serving you.
Set down the cellphone when a sales clerk is ringing you up.
Learn ways to constructively offer suggestions only if requested.
Know that you are loved, but so is everyone else.
Learn the art of forgiveness
Forgiveness is a powerful fertilizer to hope, but it's rarely applied. It seems especially during the holidays, tempers flare whether we're driving on the highway or purchasing a Christmas tree with our loved ones. People do and say the wrong things ALL THE TIME. Snubs. Blunders. Stubbornness. The list in endless in how people hurt us whether intentionally or accidentally. Forgiveness, however, gives others the benefit of the doubt. Forgiveness recognizes that we are not perfect and hurt others. Forgiveness, even when your husband cuts down the shortest tree in the lot, tells you that the largest Christmas tree does not guarantee a wonderful Christmas. Start the habit of intentional forgiveness this holiday. Start with a long-held grudge. Let it go and forgive that person even if he or she does not deserve it. It could take years to finally release that hurt, but start now. After the holidays, let your forgiveness spread throughout the year and into your life.
Believe in the power of hope
Finally, believe in hope. Believe the world will be better, even with tiny acts of kindness and forgiveness. Believe your life will get better, centimeter by centimeter, despite the disappointments and sorrows. The more hope your share, the more hope you'll receive.
My grownup Christmas wish is to spread hope to you and to the world. A tiny virus has been causing lots of havoc this year. Imagine the positive effects on all we meet when we "sneeze" out hope and let it spread.
Thank you for reading. Please click on the Christmas Isasnora Snores' YouTube Christmas Episode: Isasnora Meets the Mysterious Basir, the Trader from Persia.
Carol L. Paur