Is it just me, or do you think this Christmas season is going to be a bit more Capra-esque than most in recent memory? I could swear that more of my neighbors have their lights up and got them up just after Thanksgiving. Is it because everyone feels it? This Christmas begs for more light than seasons past just to balance the darkness that has been fouling everyone's mood since September.
Daily experiences are more bittersweet it seems. Take today for example. Our friend, Kindra Crandell, gave birth to her second child--a son named Gideon. She and Steve and little Esther are so stoked! We all are rejoicing with them. There's the sweet!
This afternoon, however, a tractor-trailer pulled away from my neighbor's former home holding just want they wanted to take with them. They left so much behind. The house is a vacant shell--lifeless and cold without a family in it. And, it will be months before another family brings life and warmth back. There's the bitter.
My own children are making their lists and checking them twice. Our stockings are out and will soon be hung with care. But, Santa has to do more with less this year. We all know he can, but it's a subtle reminder that wealth--like beauty--can be fleeting. I suspect simple gifts will be exchanged at gatherings and we'll all be more grateful than usual for the gestures.
What I loved most about "It's a Wonderful Life" was the way the ordinary people made the miracle happen in the end. To be sure, Clarence earns his wings, but the miracle happens when the neighbors, friends, customers, and family members show up for George. When the realization overcomes him--when he truly understands that all is not lost, that there is still hope--his eyes dance with gratitude and joy. It is a priceless moment. What I am feeling, and imagining is that we all will have the chance to be a miracle for someone this Christmas. Showing up for someone could turn the bitter--sweet. Exchange hope for despair. Let's be brave and show up. (By the same token, if you feel more like George this year, maybe a miracle is just around the corner for you, too).