The first week of December has nearly skipped past, and what a nice week it has been. After working so hard on Library Lost for so long, I have decided to wait until January to tuck into my third book in the Great Library Series. (I am still uncertain about the title.)
Instead, I am going to celebrate this cold season of short days and twinkly lights, a time of year I love dearly. For various reasons, we no longer enjoy hosting big parties, but we do like inviting friends over for tea, coffee, and cookies or warm apple crisp, and that is what we are doing this December. Then there is the Christmas bustle of cooking, wrapping presents, and decorating. I don’t want to rush through the season. Instead, I want to savor each day, each activity.
Christmas can be seen as a time of excess, and to some degree it is. But is also a time of generosity, a time of giving, a time of thinking about what someone else would like rather than what you would like. All to the good, as far as I’m concerned. Simply put, we can’t have too much generosity, a virtue that is often in very short supply, especially in this country.
In the spirit of encouraging generosity, here are a few stories. Last Sunday, we went to our friends Judy and Paul’s house for tea. For a Christmas present, she gave me this lovely vintage post card that she had picked up at a seasonal pop-up called Yuletide in a Yurt. (For readers who live within driving distance of Monmouth, Maine, this is a lovely place to buy locally made gifts.)
Here is the front.
And here is the back. In 1913, Marian sent Bessie this card. Now how cool is that?
Then Judy told us a story of unexpected generosity that had come into her life. A week or so ago, she and Paul went to a local restaurant to have lunch. As they were making their way to their booth—Paul has health issues and walks very slowly—a woman in the next booth smiled at them as they took their seats. Then, later, when the woman left, she looked directly at Paul and Judy and smiled as she passed by. When it came time to pay the bill, the server told Judy, “The bill has been taken care of by the woman who was sitting in the booth next to you.”
Judy was flabbergasted as well she might be. How often does this happen? It has never happened to me, and I think it was a first for Judy. There was no explanation left with the server as to why the woman paid the bill, but I have a notion that the woman observed Judy and Paul and how loving, patient, and kind Judy is with Paul as she helps him cope with his disabilities. (Readers, Judy really is a wonder.) I expect the woman was moved and wanted to do something nice for them. This is all speculation, of course, but I think it’s a good guess.
After lunch, as Judy was going home, she stopped at a light and noticed a woman standing nearby, with a sign asking for money. Judy noted how worn, tired, and discouraged the woman looked. Digging frantically in her pocketbook before the light changed, Judy found $20, about the same price as lunch, and handed it to the woman.
Now it was the woman’s turn to be flabbergasted. “Thank you, thank you, thank you! You have no idea how much this will help.”
The light changed, and Judy had to drive away.
And that, dear readers, is a perfect circle of generosity, a lesson to keep not only for Christmas, but for the rest of the year as well.