It started as a fun, light-hearted Christmas whim. A bunch of us neighbor gals who meet together weekly for a Bible study (sometimes with as much laughing and chic chat as diligent nose-to-grindstone actual study of the Word) decided to sponsor a good old fashioned Christmas caroling evening. Everyone in our 200-home subdivision was invited.
Only a handful of festively dressed singers (and I use the term “singers” very loosely!) showed up. There was just one real singer among us so Cheryl (wearing red Santa hat in picture; that’s me waving) started us out on key and we proceeded to stray all over the musical stratosphere before attempting to end the song in the general vicinity of Cheryl’s last note.
Our enthusiasm far exceeded our talent. Yup, we were lousy. But it was okay. Our goal was not to accomplish any life-changing purpose; it was simply to enjoy a carefree starlit night, wear silly clothes, and express our joy about the birth of a Savior in a manger.
But Papa God had a different purpose in mind.
Winding our way through the subdivision, someone in our group spoke up, “You know, the man who lives in this house recently had very serious surgery and his wife has been shut in taking care of him. They might appreciate a few songs.”
So we stopped. And we sang. Half a verse in, the door opened and a woman walked slowly down her driveway to where we stood. She looked careworn. And weary. She silently – almost reverently – listened to the words, “God rest ye merry gentlemen, let nothing you dismay. Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas day …” and then suddenly, unexpectedly, she burst into tears.
Not knowing what else to do, we looked wide-eyed at each other and just kept singing. Or at least Cheryl did. The rest of us did our best imitation of singing and surrounded the emotional woman as she hid her face in her hands and sobbed. Hand after hand gently patted her as we acted as Papa God’s love with skin on it when she was obviously in desperate need for human touch and encouragement.
Incredibly, it happened yet again, when we arrived at my elderly neighbor’s house. I knew Miss Carmen’s husband was gradually dying and partly due to the stress of being his primary caretaker for the past two months, she’d broken out with a horrible case of shingles that very week, causing the flesh around her eye to swell to immense proportions and wracking her with pain.
As the carolers lined up on her sidewalk facing the front door and started singing, I rang the doorbell. Miss Carmen cautiously peeked out (she probably thought it was a cat fight). When I said, “Your neighbors are here to sing some Christmas songs for you,” she began weeping, repeating over and over in her Spanish accent, “Dis ees so kind; you make me so happy!”
And we were too. Very, very happy.
Two people deeply touched by the simple act of someone reaching out. Reaching out and then reaching up toward the source of all comfort and happiness and joy.
Wow. BIG wow.
Sure made me ponder: we can’t possibly know what seemingly insignificant acts of kindness might mean to people in need all around us. But SomeOne does. And He’ll guide us in what to do if we pay attention to His holy elbow nudge. We don’t even have to be good at it; we just have to be present. And willing.
So BBFF (Blessed Blog Friend Forever), what simple acts of kindness pop into your head to share Papa God’s love to your neighbors on a regular basis throughout the year?
Talk to me, folks – I love hearing from you!