There is a women’s group that I have belonged to for the last 10 of so years and we recently had our annual cookie exchange.
It’s always a fun night with lots of chit chat and yummy treats. If you have never attended a cookie exchange, you basically have an evening with friends, bring two dozen cookies and exchange them for your friends’ delicious delicacies.
At every event, we have a couple of speakers too. At our cookies exchange we have a local chef come in and give us a couple of new recipes. It’s a small cooking show in real life and we get to taste her creations after they have cooked. This year, she created a savoury Christmas log, and fruit and ginger filled biscotti. Both were divine.
The second speaker was me. I had been asked to put together “how to make our homes bright and cheerful for Christmas”. And our theme word this year was SPARKLE.
The first thing that came to mind was my son showing me the sparkle dance that the girls were doing at school. Clueless I looked it up. If you are a Fuller House fan, you know.
This was not enough to give a presentation.
So I thought about it again. I imagined shimmer and light, the twinkle of stars and the glow of a candle. As the snow begins to fall in the winter months and the weather turns cold, one thing we always have to look forward to is the sparkling of lights outside for the Christmas season. Major streets and center plazas are aglow with hundreds of miniature lights. What a sight to see!
Recently, I have read that once a family’s Christmas tree is up with its lights, many seem to gravitate to the living room where it is placed, simply to be in its presents. The warm glow of the lights is so inviting and peaceful. Our family takes a good week before we place any ornaments on the tree, just so we can admire it, in its simplicity with twinkling lights. And this year, I added more twinkling lights in the home, on our stairwell and mantle.
With Advent, we prepare our homes for Christmas, as well as our minds, so it made me think of what sparkle would mean for us internally.
How does a person sparkle?
Is it by the way they dress? How they speak? Or can it be by the way they help others and share their gifts with the world? Some of my best friends are never dressed in high fashion sparkly jewelry or makeup, but they exude a glow or sparkle with their positivity and friendly ways.
Faith filled thoughts
If we go waaaaay back to the beginning, the very first sparkle, the first glow of a light that made the most difference to so many was the shining star of Bethlehem. And that is why we have lights and candles as symbols for Advent and Christmas. And as we look for an internal light, we look to guidance from God. And if God is our teacher, and our guide as we strive to be as a better person, then we can determine that our light will be found by showing love to those around us.
Regardless of your religion or faith, the holiday season lends itself in many ways to give back. Many charity organizations find ways to let communities know what they can do for the many people in local areas that need help.
One such thing happened to us. As my son prepares for his confirmation this year, we have been invited to attend ongoing works by our church. Since we are new to the church, it has given us a chance to get to know just how many acts of kindness can be done by one organization.
My son and I signed up for help on making sandwiches. It was not glamorous and the sandwiches themselves were simple. But we made close to 200 with the help of other children and moms. The organizer explained this was to go with a hot meal this week for men in the community that need help. The sandwiches were kind of like an extra to go away with. I looked at the bread, the cheese, the salami…it made me feel so grateful and so humbled.
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This is not an attractive IG pic. It won’t gain popularity or get on the top list of the IG feed for any hashtag. But I’m sharing it for two reasons. 1) we need to be more real 2) we need to see things that have an impact on our lives not our looks. My son and I volunteered a couple of weeks ago to help make sandwiches. This is the result. Close to 200 sandwiches prepped for people in our community that need it. Read the whole story on the blog.
It puts our way of life into a perspective that we don’t always shine a light on. So, after that activity, my son and I spoke on the drive home. We talked about how those people must be doing this time of year, about how blessed we are as a family, and what other things we can do to help.
It took all of an hour. One hour to make a small difference in many peoples’ lives. And it wasn’t much, but it was something. In the bustle of the days ahead, I hope this little story helps you find time to break away from your holiday prepping to help out another.
And that, my friends, is how we sparkle.