When I think of Christmas, I visualize warm family gatherings, good food, and lots of love and laughs, while celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. I even look forward to the holiday traffic that we endure just so we can spend precious moments with each part of our family.
After the madness is over, my husband, myself, and our son go home, throw a couple logs on the fire, snuggle up, and thank God for another year and what we have to look forward to in the next.
There are many local events in the month of December, but the annual Christmas parade and tree lighting is my favorite. This year, a large part of the North Mason community showed up at the parking lot of McLendon’s Hardware in Belfair on December 7 for music and festivities. Together we stood with cold hands and warm hearts as the children wriggled with excitement.
The North Mason Chamber of Commerce had partnered with other businesses to serve cookies and cider, and for one night we became a community united.
No matter the thoughts that may have been running through our heads, we are together. There was a sense of calmness in the chaos. The delight in the children’s eyes when they first saw Santa put a feeling in my chest that I cannot explain. Although we were exhausted when the event was over (especially the ones with small children), we were better people for making this crowd possible just by showing up.
These warm feelings of closeness may not have been the case for everyone. Some people are dealing with sadness and pain, instead of happiness and security. The dreams of a miracle can be overshadowed by anxiety and depression, and these people are just thankful to get through another day.
I remember when I was about 10 years old, my family and I were standing in front of a counter that passed out cheese and powdered milk. Our mom, being the person to see the lighter side of everything, got us kids excited for grilled cheese sandwiches for the weeks to come.
We frequented the food banks and got help from people in our church. On the holidays we had turkey or ham or whatever came in our box of traditional fare that we stood in a long line to receive. We were poor. But what we lacked in wealth, we made up for in love and imagination.
You see, what we were blessed with, were small gestures that mattered greatly. Few knew just what it meant to us to get that box of food or that free bag of clothes. Our lives were being defined by each offering, each gesture, and every prayer answered.
We are who we are today, because of our past. The struggle we went through made it worth the fight to have a better life. Through that fight, it gave us something to give others who are now going through some of the same difficulties we endured.
This year my hope is that all people feel encouraged to help someone. It does not matter what you have, you always have something to give. A gentle touch, warm words, or a generous act will make someone feel like there is hope in this world.
But it takes more than one person to make a difference in a community. Let us define our North Mason home by our acts of friendship and unity. Let our words be kind and our acts of offering be powerful. Let us give the feeling of warmth, not just for Christmas, but all year round.
Director, District #2