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In Focus

The Immeasurable Gift of Kindness

by Bill Stephens
Tues., 28 Nov. 2017 @ 5PM

CHICAGO - So Thanksgiving is over and the Christmas season has officially begun. While it seems that Christmas has been pushed up as early as Halloween, well it has.

And what about Thanksgiving? If you have looked around lately, it was gone in a blink. And instead of centering on the true meaning, the focus has become concentrated on shopping; black Friday, this and that. And as I age I have become more disappointed in the season. We have forgotten what the season should truly represent.

First and foremost, it is the celebration of a very special birthday – that of Jesus, who was born in a manger to a couple so poor they could not afford even to get a room at the Inn. Mary and Joseph shared the joy of the arrival of their child with the animals, the stars in the sky and one very special star.

That star called to and guided three kings to the place of His arrival. They brought with them the very first gifts that had the same meaning then as they still do today. The first gift was of gold to represent kingship on earth and to shower riches upon the rumored arrival of a savior.

The second gift, frankincense, used as incense to signify His priestly role. Today, frankincense is used many as a natural cure and relief for a number of ailments from arthritis to other sorts of pain. Frankincense just might be the very most important of those first three gifts as we are still finding out more about this gift.

The third and final gift, Myrrh, was used as an embalming oil. It signified Christ's death and embalming as life has a beginning and an end.

At this time of year, we are to celebrate the joy of the season and reflect on the past years events. It is also a time to remember loved ones that have left us. We should share stories about them with our children as this will keep our dearly departed loved ones alive not only in our hearts, but will give our children a feel for who they were and what they have left behind.

As we age and share these family stories with our children, take a step back. Take stock of what mark you are leaving behind. For example, the Christmas seasonal TV shows and movies are upon us. Many of us grew up watching the animated staples, “Santa Clause is Coming to Town”, “Frosty the Snowman” and others. These are not just classics; they are in a sense a legacy that is handed down to our children and then to the grandchildren.

The actors that voiced these animations were stars that while growing up we watched on TV and in movies. They were actors, singers and musicians whose voices will live on forever and will find a place in the next generations hearts and childhoods that will most likely be passed on to their children.

Legacy – A big word in action but HUGE in meaning. This season is a good time to reflect on what your legacy is. If you haven’t been kind to one another, be kind. We all have challenges in life and we really don’t have a clue what that person sitting next to you at the restaurant, your server or even the driver in traffic next to you is going through today. It could be anything - bad health news, lost a job, lost a loved one.

Treat all people with respect. Start here. If they do something to not deserve your respect, do not mistreat them. The best thing is to give them space. It’s a time for gifting – A gift can be as simple as a smile or a greeting. Acknowledging someone can be a huge gift. You could make someone’s day by just smiling at them.

Give the gift of common courtesy. Hold a door for someone. In traffic, take your time. You will get there. It is better for everyone to get there safe anyway. Bottom line – put someone else first. It will come back to you ten fold. I wish you all a Merry Christmas. Spend as much family time together as possible. Laugh, sing and eat. The diets start on New Years day.