Recently there has been an increase of news stories of people paying off the lay-a-way balance of others at various retailers and most of the incidents have involved total strangers. I love this. Isn’t this season where this type of expression should be commonplace?
My own family has received multiple anonymous gifts this past year, once as recently as this week where an envelope was left in our car in the driveway with money inside. It is hard to thank an anonymous person simply because you do not know who to thank. So…I have an idea. We have all heard of the term “pay it forward”. Let’s practice this principle.
We have a few days left between now and Christmas. What if each one of us came up with creative ways to benefit a total stranger. Here are some ideas my family has used in the past and had a lot of fun with these.
In a line at the toll booth – pay for the next two people in line behind you.
In a line at the fast food drive-through – pay for the meal of the car behind you. If you can’t pay for the whole meal just put what you have toward it. Either way it will be received as an act of kindness.
Here’s a good one. Hold a door for someone. Whenever I do this and someone thanks me I like to say, “That is my one act of kindness for the day and I gave it all to you.”
In a long retail line, trade places with the person behind you.
In a grocery store check out area pick someone who has a small amount of items to purchase and slip the cashier the money without the person noticing.
Bake some cookies and leave them at someone’s door.
Most of these can be done anonymously. Which to me makes it more fun. There are many other ways to benefit another person. I bet you can come up with many more ideas of your own.
The point is to reach outside of yourself to touch someone else.
It was Jesus Himself who said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” A lot of people might dig through the four gospels looking for that phrase in red. It ain’t there. Wanna know why? Because it is way over in the 20th chapter of Acts. Get it? It is brought out in the “Acts of the Apostles” because it is considered to be an act of kindness, an extension of one’s self, an expression of giving.
So the challenge I offer is to look for at least seven opportunities to display an anonymous gift of kindness between now and Christmas Day.
It is remarkable how much Hope can be spread in a short amount of time. If we are willing to give Hope away.