Lights sparkling on houses and street corners. Candles burning in windows and on the mantle. Gifts creating anticipation for the young and not so young. I think the magic of the holiday season sparks a little more excitement and wonder and gives us an opportunity to reflect on our many blessings as we close another year.

Our lives are filled with everyday miracles that often go unnoticed or unacknowledged:

  • Families coming together to celebrate the holidays, birthdays, weddings, babies being born and other occasions
  • Enough food to eat, especially our favorites that we look forward to over the holidays
  • Meaningful work that provides purpose and a living for our families
  • Good health and access to healthcare providers when we need them
  • Security and safety with the help of those who protect us here and abroad

And, the real miracle is who we get to be for each other. It’s easy when things are going well and with people we love, but the true miracle is when we’re a little kinder to our fellow man and woman when things aren’t going so well, when we step in or step up to help someone who isn’t close to us or when we may not agree with or even like another. The holiday season stirs something in us that we should not ignore. Look for those who might not feel like celebrating because of current challenges, sadness or loneliness. Extend a hand, a prayer, a meal, or a coat.

I have been reflecting on a book my son asked me to read – that is now a motion picture, too – Wonder. It’s about a 10-year old boy, August, who was born with many birth defects that left his face severely deformed. The book takes us through his first-year transitioning from being homeschooled to attending school in the 5th grade. His parents and sister see August as a miracle, and they just want others to see him as that, too. It explores the people he encounters and those who choose to be kind to him (or not). Throughout the year, August experiences that kindness and finds opportunities to be kind himself, despite the many trials he experiences. During the graduation address to the school, the principal, Mr. Tushman, shares his reflections from the year with the children:

“If every person in this room made it a rule that wherever you are, whenever you can, you will try to act a little kinder than is necessary - the world really would be a better place. And if you do this, if you act just a little kinder than is necessary, someone else, somewhere, someday, may recognize in you, in every single one of you, the face of God.” ― R.J. PalacioWonder

My hope this holiday season is that the spirit of wonder, anticipation, kindness and generosity that stirs in all of us continues in your homes, neighborhoods, places of work - and in all your interactions throughout the New Year. That is the true miracle of the holidays that we celebrate!