Make this a season of kindness

 In Blog
Make this a season of kindness | Mary Shields Ph.D.

Recently I saw something unusual: an Advent calendar called “Advent of Kindness.” For those of you who may not know, the Christian season of Advent holds the four Sundays preceding Christmas Day. It’s a season of light, hope and anticipation.

I’ve seen Advent calendars before and maybe you have, too. They usually have numbered days from 1 to 25 with cutouts so you can peek behind each number and receive a surprise each day, usually a trinket, or a seasonal image.

But this Advent of Kindness calendar stopped me in my tracks because this is exactly what is needed today. I’ll bet you’ve also noticed it: Courtesy and kindness are almost things of the past.

And the irony is that our souls crave kindness. They yearn for a good word or deed, especially in these times.

Just think about how you respond when someone says something kind to you or treats you kindly. It can change your day!

 

Simple Ways to be Kind

An act of kindness can be very simple. It doesn’t have to cost anything; it doesn’t need to take a lot of time: smiling at a stranger (or two or three), thanking someone who waits on your table or the one who bags your groceries at the grocery store, or services your car.

Perhaps you can let another driver ease in front of you on a busy freeway, let someone go ahead of you in line, or tell someone you love them. There are so many simple ways to be kind.

What if, in the midst of our celebrations of light (Hanukkah in Judaism, Advent in Christianity, and return of the light at Winter Solstice, here in the northern hemisphere, to name three occurring at roughly the same time), you could bring a little light to one person a day?

Imagine how that could begin a chain reaction and change the world (and your life) for the better! One of the greatest gifts we can give is a gift of kindness.

 

One Act of Kindness Each Day

Friends, together let’s create an Advent of Kindness this holiday season, and let’s extend it from today through to the new year. I challenge you (and myself) to do one act of kindness each day…

Keep track of them! Don’t forget to find a way to be kind to yourself on one day, too. And be sure not to overlook being kind to animals (feed the birds, for example, or fill a bird bath for the small animals in your garden if you have one), to plants (plant some seeds on your own or donate to have a tree planted where deforestation has demolished an ecosystem) and to the earth (reduce your use of plastics, reduce your electricity consumption for a day, or donate to offset your carbon footprint for a day). There are a myriad of ways to be kind.

Notice how those simple, thoughtful acts of kindness change your outlook on the world and how people respond to you. Do that till January 1, and who knows? You may just have created a new habit as well!

May this holiday season be one of unending kindness!

With love and gratitude for each of you,

Mary

PS:  I’d love to hear your stories around this.  Please let me know how this goes for you!

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