Today is St Nicholas’ Day!
St Nicholas Day is a very special day in our house. It is the day we switch on our Christmas lights for the first time. Last night, most children in the north-east of France and certainly all Dutch children expected a visit from St Nicholas and hope to find their shoes filled with little presents.
Today, on the 6th day of Advent, it is Sunday, so we will be lighting two of the advent candles. Of the four advent candles, the first represents the second coming of Christ, the second God’s gift of the Bible, the third John the Baptist and the prophets, and the fourth our own calling to shine Christ’s light into the world. In Catholic practice the third candle represents Mary.
Yesterday, purely by chance, I came across a blog post that I found most inspiring on Megan’s Coffee Cups and Crayons Blog. It was about a RAK (Random Acts of Kindness) Advent Calendar. In the post, Megan explains how she and her family brainstorms before the start of advent and choose together 24 random acts of kindness. They then allocate one act of kindness to each day of Advent. I just can’t tell you how brilliant I think this is. Of course I love opening one of the Advent Calendar’s little bags each day, receiving and devouring the day’s piece of chocolate, but I also love the idea of giving something back, however small. Christmas is the season of giving, why not start small from the beginning of Advent to get us into the giving mood?
Here are a few ideas for a Random Acts of Kindness Christmas Calendar:
- Sing Christmas Carols at a hospital/nursing home.
- Phone your mother/grandfather/sister/cousin/aunt/friend and catch up.
- Donate old (but serviceable) horse rugs and halters to the horse rescue centre.
- Compliment someone behind their back, especially to their boss, if possible.
- Donate old blankets to the animal shelter, or even better, if you can, adopt a dog/cat.
- Check on elderly neighbours, especially during the worst of the winter.
- Send a Facebook message with a genuine compliment to as many people as you can think of.
- Take croissants/mince pies/fresh fruit and nuts to work.
- While Christmas shopping, compliment a parent on how well-behaved their child is.
- Cook a meal or do a load of laundry for a friend who is going through a difficult time.
- If you walk by a car with an expired parking meter, put money in it.
- Each time you buy a new piece of clothing, donate an old one.
- Instead of interrupting when someone else is talking, listen carefully to what they are saying.
- Wash the dishes/put them in the dishwasher even if it is not your turn.
- Volunteer to walk the dogs at the animal shelter.
- Email or write to an old teacher/trainer who made a difference to your life/your horses’ lives.
- If your waiter did a great job, leave the biggest tip you can afford.
- Retweet someone else’s funny/inspiring tweet
- While driving, let someone into your lane. SMILE.
- Leave your newspaper/magazine behind for the next person to read.
- Help a mother with a pushchair up or down stairs.
- Let the person behind you in the queue at the supermarket with just one or two items go first.
- Hold the lift.
- Buy some extra dog or cat food to drop off at the animal shelter.
- Stop to talk to a homeless person.
- Babysit for a single mother.
- Wash some one’s car, mow some one’s lawn or rake up some one’s leaves.
- Offer to return a shopping cart to the store for someone loading groceries in their car.
- Help travellers with heavy luggage or direct tourists who seem lost.
- Volunteer at Emmaus / other charity in your neighbourhood.
- Pay the toll fare for the car behind you or pay for the coffee/newspaper of the person behind you in the queue.
It you should find yourself in a giving mood, please donate a ‘like’ to my Facebook Page : Personal Empowerment Workshops with Horses – I would hugely appreciate it !
What I will do this year, as I only found out about it now, is to write our brainstormed act of kindness ideas on yellow sticky’s, with one day’s date on each sticky. I will stick them all on the fridge, so we can remove one every day until Christmas. Next year, I will add a little note with an act of kindness written on it to the chocolates in each bag of the advent calendar.
Today’s Christmas Carol is the Cantique de Noël (O Holy Night), a well-known Christmas carol composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847 set to the poem “Minuit, chrétiens” (Midnight, Christians), written by a wine merchant/poet, Placide Cappeau (1808–1877). It is sung by Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo, in both French and English.
Here are the words of the first verse and refrain, first in French, then in English :
C’est l’heure solennelle
Ou l’Homme Dieu descendit jusqu’a nous
Pour effacer la tache originelle
Et de Son Pere arreter le courroux.
Le monde entier tressaille d’esperance
En cette nuit qui lui donne un Sauveur.
Peuple a genoux, attends ta delivrance!
Noel! Noel! Voici le Redempteur!
Noel! Noel! Voici le Redempteur!
Midnight, Christians, is the solemn hour,
When God as man descended unto us
To erase the stain of original sin
And to end the wrath of His Father.
The entire world thrills with hope
On this night that gives it a Saviour.
People, kneel down, await your deliverance.
Christmas, Christmas, here is the Redeemer,
Christmas, Christmas, here is the Redeemer!
Have a lovely 2nd Advent Sunday!
This post won the Inspire Me Monday LinkUp no 62