Sunday, December 9, 2012

Advent Acts of Kindness: Day 4

This is the fourth in a series of posts on "Advent Acts of Kindness." Advent, the period of time leading up to Christmas, is a period of reflection and preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Historically, this meant a period of fasting, charity, and penance to ready the soul. Fasting isn't really part of the preparation anymore, but charity and penance still are. So while Advent calendars are a convenient way to count down the remaining days until Christmas, the season is marked by more than decorating and wrapping gifts. Even if all the rest of your tasks are done, you're not ready if your mind and heart aren't ready.

One great way to truly prepare for Christmas is to show kindness towards others, especially those less fortunate. With this in mind, I thought I'd put together a list of ideas for small acts of kindness and post one each day throughout Advent. I did this partly for selfish reasons, because I want to start a tradition of Advent Acts of Kindness for my own family, and partly because I thought you lovely readers would enjoy it. 

Advent Act of Kindness #4: Pick something up that you didn't drop. This one might sound a little weird, but bear with me. It's easy to just let a shirt fall off a hanger or knock something off a shelf and go on your way when you're shopping. After all, you have things to do, and someone gets paid to pick those things up. But think about it. Unless there is one employee doing nothing but following customers around and picking up after them, it's going to take a little while to get that shirt or box picked up and put back. This time of year, it probably will take even longer. In the meantime, the store becomes a mess, and that doesn't really add to the civilized society we'd all prefer to live in.

Obviously, it's impractical to pick up some dropped items, since you may not know where they go. But if you see something on the shelf that's obviously out of place, you can always take it along to the checkstand with you and give it to the cashier - this at least hastens its return. If you see a piece of clothing sliding off the hanger, you can put it back. I've worked in a store since I was a year out of high school, and I can tell you that putting things back in the right place at the end of the day takes time. I'm sure a busy store employee would be very glad to see someone not only picking up after themselves, but picking up after someone else as well. I know I would be!

I hope you all are enjoying your Sunday! Happy second Sunday of Advent!

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