A Spiritual Snapshot for Christmas

These are dark times and hope feels elusive. I take comfort from my spiritual snapshots — experiences with various people who remind me that there is still goodness in the world. They remind me of the words of Willy Wonka “Thus shines a good deed in a cold, cold world.”

     Years ago I worked as a mailman during summers and the Christmas vacation. One winter I was trudging along the streets of Dunmore, weighted down with mail (this was in the days before those little mail trucks). It was snowing and I was cold to the bone. In addition, because I was the new mailman, I was running late and so incurred the very un-Christmasy wrath of various persons along the route. I definitely was in a Bah Humbug mood.

I entire a small apartment complex and found an elderly man waiting by the mailboxes. As I was sorting the mail into various boxes, the old man said something I couldn’t quite hear. “Another complainer”, I thought as I told him I didn’t hear him. He then placed a small amplifier on his throat. I realized this man suffered from throat cancer as I heard scratchy words come through his machine: “Merry Christmas” he said. I was speechless, stunned that anyone battling such a deadly disease, dealing with the loss of his voice, could still reach out with kind words to a half-frozen mailman. “And a happy New Year” he added as he gathered his mail.

I carried his words with me as I stepped back out into the snow. I’ve carried those words with me ever since. That old man taught me that kind words can be found even in the midst of the darkest tragedy. A lesson I hope I never forget.

Reflection: Do you have a spiritual snapshot from Christmases past?

About richp45198

I am a clinical psychologist and have an abiding interest in matters spiritual.
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3 Responses to A Spiritual Snapshot for Christmas

  1. Billie says:

    Thank you, Rich…

  2. Dave Hall says:

    A special Christmas? I enjoyed this post. For myself, I remember as a little boy that my uncle was staioned in Vietnam as a soldier during the War. My mother sent a small artificial Christmas tree with all the decorations and tinsel with it to him and his platoon. During a fire fight my uncle said that the tree went with the soldiers into the fox hole. They loved that tree and what it stood for. I have lived myself in Taiwan a couple of times and am living here presently. before when my mo was alive she also sent me the tree, lights and decorations. My apartment would be the only one with decorations outside. And inside! Now my mom isn’t here physically anymore but I think she would be wishing me a Merry Christmas nonetheless.

  3. Susan Bass says:

    Once, as a nurse in my late 20s, I was working on Christmas eve in a hospital which served mostly the
    poor and underinsured patients in the area. I was working on a Medical Oncology unit and the evening
    was quiet and somber as patients received their chemotherapy and blood. Then, from a way down the
    hall, I heard a choir singing, stopping at each room to sing Christmas carols. It was not so much the
    quality of the music that struck me, but the quality of their spirit. They could have been at any of a
    hundred places but they chose to be there, on Christmas eve, cheering things up a bit.

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