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By Esih Efuru

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December is a time when families come together to celebrate their fortunes, while others prepare for what the new year will bring. Children eagerly anticipate their bounty and adults pledge to take their life lessons to new levels. In all, the season brings forth a spirit of renewal and joy for the soul.

Holiday seasons not only bring us cheer and rewards; they also gift us with the chance to reflect anew. How does our living measure up to hope for the world? Where does our fortune line up with honoring those who still have to press to make life meaningful? These questions and others challenge us to consider that our joy can be expanded when we consider those that are still on the search for light in dark tunnels.

When we take a moment to put down the garland and holiday coupons, we can reflect on those in our community who may be alone for the holidays, those who have no children to hand presents to or those who have no parents to receive gifts from. When we reach out to the souls of those lost in spirit and share our joy and good fortune, we are living God aloud and spreading good will, the heart of the holiday season, toward all.

Celebrating the season by wrapping used gifts for a less fortunate family or visiting a shelter to read holiday classics. Offer a kind word to a sad friend or invite an estranged relative over for cider and holiday decorating. These gestures are life changing and can warm the heart just as easily. It is important to remember that everyone’s season isn’t full of light. Many of our brothers and sisters suffer silently through depression and grief in these times of jolly folly. Everyone’s heart doesn’t have Christmas lights around it; many cradle the broken tinsel of lost hope and dark destiny.

Help make someone’s transition into the new year bright! Create a resolution of sharing and giving that challenges your or your family to pour favor into the life of your community, church and family members who thought themselves forgotten. Do a flash mob of holiday songs at the bus station. Write holiday cards for inmates at your local jail. Make holiday cookies with the neighborhood children and deliver them to the elderly. Write affirmations on Christmas wrapping paper and pass them out to the homeless. Make this a season to remember, not because of the loaded Christmas tree, but because of the smiles on the hearts of humankind. Extending kindness outside of our comfort zones is what we are called to do. The holiday season is a perfect time to honor the servant and giver within each of us.

53887_10151253377469873_1206482299_o (1) Esih Efuru, a 44 year old writer, artist and minister, is raising a daughter in Charlotte, NC. Email her esihefuru@gmail.com

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