How do you send encouragement during the holidays?

christmas envelope frontDuring this holiday season, how do you encourage others? Do strangers see your positive side just by looking? I just have to share the most amazing Christmas card I received in the mail today. I like the card but I love the envelope. I have never received a card where the outside says more than the inside.

Front and back the envelope is filled with encouraging words before I even open it. “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”  Matthew 6:27. “The love we give away is the only love we keep.”  Elbert Hubbard.  “Scatter Joy.”  “Have a bright and beautiful Christmas season.”  “The way to know life is to love many things.” Van Gogh. By looking at the outside, I couldn’t wait to see what was inchristmas envelope 2side.

Then I realized something. Every postal worker who touched this letter saw encouragement. My family saw the messages as it sat on the counter waiting for me. In essence my friend, who shall remain nameless is one of the most encouraging souls I have ever met. She uses a simple envelope to easily spread positive messages in abundance.

I’ve learned most of us need more encouragement than ever at the holidays. I remember one Christmas Eve when I had three young toddlers and worked full time. I was worn down from lack of sleep and the additional responsibility for all the shopping, wrapping, planning and cooking. Right before my parents and family came over for dinner I went into my room and privately broke down in exhausted tears. I excused my red eyes away to others as allergies because I was too embarrassed at the thought of crying at a ‘happy’ time. Isn’t everyone supposed to be happy?

Many years ago my older brother died suddenly in a car accident. He died in November three days before his birthday. Emotions were still raw at Christmas and my mother was still in such grief she couldn’t cook nor had the heart to decorate for Christmas. Everything traditional seemed a reminder of who wasn’t there. We somehow got numbly through, but never “celebrated.” I send heartfelt hugs to my friends who have lost a family member this year. I wish you the blessings of a close friend or family to spend the holiday with.

As I look at my special envelope I’m reminded that we can all be encouragers. Like most other life skills, we don’t learn to encourage until we have been encouraged. How can you be kind, if you haven’t experienced kindness and forgiveness? I thank my special friend for how she ‘packaged’ her Christmas card. She’s shown me it doesn’t take much to make a difference for someone else. And sometimes – it really is what’s on the outside that counts.

I haven’t sent out any Christmas cards yet. The plan is to send  New Year’s cards this year. Look for the envelope.

Do you have some simple ways to encourage others? Have you ever paid for a coffee for someone in line behind you at Starbucks? This holiday season have you let one person in front of you in a long cashier line or traffic jam?





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Tags: About Katrina, Just for Fun

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