Along with thousands of others on Black Friday, I purchased a few Christmas gifts online. Knowing that many more people may opt for online shopping this year, it was a surprise when I received my packages within a few short days of ordering. For my sister, Meghann, I had picked out a special gift. When the packages arrived, I knew exactly which box was for her. It was the box that had the words “Handle with Care” printed on the outside. Inside the box was a 4-inch by 4-inch white porcelain tile that sits on a small black wooden easel. Printed on the tile in black ink is a quote from Mother Teresa. It reads,
Wash the plate
not because it is dirty
nor because you are told to wash it,
but because you love the person who will use it next.
Part of me picked this gift for my sister because she and her husband have 3 kids all under the age of 7. As you can guess, my nephew and nieces need all the encouragement they can get in remembering to clean up after themselves. But more importantly, I loved the message.
When we come from love in all that we do, I can’t think of a situation that isn’t transformed. The most mundane task, such as washing the dishes, all of a sudden becomes an opportunity to show an act of loving service to another. The everyday moments become special when we harness the gift of loving presence. It’s something that is completely free, innate to our human design, and simply asks to be expressed – not in grand gesture- rather, right into the experience that is in front of us. Isn’t this exactly what the spirit of Christmas is about? Doing whatever you do from a place of love, for no other reason than because it feels good to be a loving person?
I invite each of you, in this week leading up to Jesus's birth, to reflect on one small way that you can be the presence of love in your everyday doings. Be the person who lights up those around you in the checkout line because you radiate a special lighthearted joy. Share a compliment with the cashier at the drive thru. I promise it will put a smile on their face or lighten their mood. Express an extra “I love you” to your kids, spouse, pets, or family members in an unexpected moment.
There are so many different ways and opportunities to be the hands and feet of Jesus, but I encourage you to also radiate the heart of Jesus wherever you find yourself this Christmas, and in all the days after. May God shine His loving presence on each of you and those you love this Christmas season!