At one of the places I work, I saw a paperweight with this quote from Mother Theresa, “You are greater than you know.” I have witnessed silent acts of kindness that show how true this is.
In the parking lot the other day, I noticed a mother with tired children trying to load her groceries into her car when a box of Kleenex fell off the cart. Suddenly, a young man picked it up, handed it to her, and said, “Merry Christmas.” She appeared genuinely shocked as I observed this. The toddlers had endured as much of the grocery store as they could, and she seemed a tad frazzled. Yet after this simple act, she smiled and said thank you. She graciously appreciated the help, and as she finished putting her stuff in the car, a slight smile hung from her mouth.
I feel we dramatically underestimate simple acts of kindness. Some think that an act of kindness has to be grand to be of worth, but the simple ones tend to be better. I am sure that young man did not see the smile on her face or the fact that she may have been infused with a touch of the Christmas Spirit. He was greater than he knew.
Another person I know saw a picture of the home of a young mother online and noticed the snowdrift over the front porch steps. She had been meaning to take care of it, but with her husband working out of town and her working a full-time job, there were only so many hours in a day. He grabbed a shovel and swung by and cleared the porch while she was home with her daughter, but unaware of the act of kindness happening just outside. He did not do it for money or fame, just to help a friend. He did not see her walk down the steps carrying her daughter with peace of mind or her smile as she pulled up the next day and saw the clear steps as she got her daughter out of the car. In her eyes, he certainly was greater than he knew.
Lastly, a young family befriended an elderly couple at their church. He served during WWII, and she held the state record for the largest trapped beaver. However, most people only saw two elderly individuals, one almost deaf and the other with a pretty severe stroke, in a wheelchair, unable to walk. This family set up a Christmas tree in the couple’s Quonset hut and helped the older woman make her signature fruit cake. They cleared their snow and made sure they had firewood. The children embraced Horace and Nellie as part of the family. Their visit made this couple’s entire Christmas, filled them with a sense of being loved, not forgotten, and just maybe, passing a little bit of their love to another generation. For this couple, this family was much greater in value than they could ever know.
In KJV Luke 15: 4-7, we read about the parable about the ninety and nine, where one sheep is lost in the wilderness, and the master searches for it. Once it is found, the master “cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbors, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.” The Lord glories in each one of us. One is not more special, but each is valued in His eyes. What we may perceive as minor acts of kindness are significant to both the recipient and our Savior. King Benjamin taught, “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17).
I hope that during this Christmas season and going into 2022, that we search for opportunities to provide random acts of Christmas kindness, the more anonymous, the better. You will be following the example of Christ and will make someone’s day a little brighter and yours as well.
John Boston is a local physician, husband, father, grandfather and believer in Christ and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.