The Meaning of True Holiday Spirit

My family has always been there for one another, especially during this time of year. Our holiday spirit is a tangible part of who we are and how we respond to family and neighbors, and I’ve learned over time that the meaning of true holiday spirit is love that brings out the best in all of us. The holiday season reminds us of our abundant blessings, bringing us joy and gratitude that then moves us to share with others who live in need.

This spirit is particularly evident in our interactions when we show others love, encourage and share hope, and go the extra mile to be caring and kind. Love stands out among these attributes because it simply doesn’t fail: Out of our love for others, we desire to do more and become better. With family, we seek to give them things they need and desire, while our love for our neighbors drives us to continue to serve in a loving spirit.

A Grandmother’s Kindness Proves Contagious

When I think about who exemplifies this holiday spirit the most, it’s undoubtedly my grandmother, who loved her family and modeled this spirit of love. Granny had six children, and I remember wondering as a child how she was able to love each of them, and her grandchildren, so well. Add to this all the others she brought into her circle. Hers was a home where mothers could bring their babies and leave them, sometimes for extended periods, and never worry that they would not be cared for and loved.

Granny expressed this love every day. Anyone — friends, neighbors, strangers — who entered her presence knew it and soaked up her gracious kindness. Her house was a place of comfort and ease throughout the year. Even with the little she had, she did so much to help others. She’s instilled her heritage in us all, and we continue to be a family that serves others with kindness and patience. Once you experience these feelings, it’s hard not to share it with others.

Preserving That Spirit Year-Round

I haven’t mentioned holiday spirit much in relation to the final month of the year. This is because I believe we can learn a lot from those who don’t wait for a date on the calendar to be neighborly and caring. The truth is that we see devastation around us every day, and while many of us are bothered by it, we feel powerless. But true holiday spirit urges us to do good whenever the opportunity arises.

There are many silent soldiers out there who stay in the trenches year-round, looking for ways to show their loving spirit and make a difference in others’ lives. They visit the lonely and the fatherless and help those who are widowed and elderly. They work in halfway houses, deliver dinners, visit nursing homes, and open their homes to strangers. Their motivation for spreading joy and love is the spirit we recall each December. When we remember all we have, it makes it so much easier to give to others in a true holiday spirit that lasts all year.

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