Is it just me or did the colors of fall come late this year? Back in early November when this area typically sees fall in all its glory, I was sure fall wouldn’t be noteworthy. However, over the last couple of weeks it’s been beautiful. This tree caught my attention today at the park. It lifted my spirit.
I’ve been fighting a bit of a cold and have been a tad ‘Ba-humbug’ this past week. The cold conquered my voice and not having a voice is challenging (to put it nicely) as the parent of an eight year old. He’s a lucky soul that he listens…mostly 😉
It’s hard to believe it’s the first of December. The start of advent season is here. Having grown up in church, I’ve always heard about advent, but frankly, never really thought more about it. For me, it was just part of the season, part of the holiday. A candle that was lit each Sunday until Christmas. The actual definition of advent is, the arrival of a notable person, thing or event. Well, that does sum of the days leading up to Christmas fairly well. Advent, the days that lead up to the coming of love. A love like no other. A love this world needs – desperately.
At home, we’re doing an advent chain. There are mini bags for each day hanging in our kitchen window. To start, someone will place a small token in the day’s bag that makes them think of someone else in the house and then that person gets the token that day. The next day, the person who got the gift the day before is responsible for selecting the token for another person. Simple, small acts of love.
Small acts of love and kindness. Very important things this world is in so much need for. Today, I had taken my son along with a couple of his friends to play at the park. When we got there the playground was fairly empty of youngsters running about. As our time at the park progressed, I watched families and kids come and go. It got fairly busy at one point. During this time something else caught my attention and lifted my spirit: the children. I found them incredibly amazing.
I was most intrigued with this apparatus that is much like a modern day merry-go-round. It stayed consistently filled with gaggles of kids and they each took a turn to push. I did not witness one argument between any of the kids that would come and go. It didn’t matter the age, ability or the appearance of the children that visited the ride. At one time, there wasn’t an open spot available on the merry-go-round. As it would glide around in circles, there was a cycle forming each time someone new taking their turn: leap off, push, hop on, laugh, squeal, lather, rinse, repeat. From the smallest to the tallest and the youngest to the oldest it was simply joyful to watch.
At one moment, a very young girl toppled off and let out a cry. The entire gang stopped the wheel figured out if she was okay, helped her back on and then proceeded to spin. Talk about small acts of love. Talk about kindness. Talk about compassion. Talk about gathering around someone in their moment of need. This is how the world should be. We shouldn’t stop working together. We shouldn’t stop caring. Not because of age, or gender, or race, or ability, or beliefs.
I love the purity of children. The way there is a genuine and authentic acceptance of others, whether they look like them or not. The pact of children is how love and the world should work in the most simplest of terms: if you’re kind, willing to play, take your fair turn in the work, and look after others – you’re in. It starts there. Nothing else matters. That is what’s born in us, that is what’s natural to us. It’s society that teaches us what it feels matters and so many times, what it’s telling us is unnatural to us. Our hearts know different.
It’s the whole reason for advent – the gift at the end of this season is love: undeniable, unconditional, uncompromising love. For all of us. Not just some of us. It was given to all of us. It stands for all of us. It sacrificed for all of us. It’s fine to enjoy your turn on the ride, but also be willing to take your turn to push; and when someone falls, we all must stop and help lift them back up.