This time of year, our thoughts turn to family, friends, and our community. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanza, December is a time for personal reflection and giving. It’s also a time for joy.

Joy is defined as “The emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure.” If your year has been anything like mine, joy has been in short supply since March. As we approach the end of the year and we take a few days to catch our breath and draw closer to the important people in our lives, let’s also make a choice to be more joyful.

Every day this holiday season do something, no matter how small, to bring joy to yourself and someone else. Read a silly cartoon or three like these and chuckle…

Smile more often. Say hello to that neighbor who you rarely see. When you’re in your car waiting in line for your Starbucks coffee, buy drinks for the folks in the vehicle behind you. Call that cousin, sibling, or acquaintance you had a minor disagreement with and tell them that you’re sorry about the bad feelings, you’re thinking good things about them, and you wish them well.

One of the saddest things about 2020 is the impact the COVID pandemic has had on the elderly. You might have lost someone in your family this year to this terrible plague. We all know how tough it has been to be separated from our parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles who are too vulnerable to the virus to be out in public.

I encourage you to bring some joy into an older person’s life this holiday season. Give them a card, or a gift, maybe a phone call, or a Zoom chat and let them know that although we cannot spend time with them in person, they are in our hearts and prayers.

Here are two links to short videos that will warm your heart. One, called The Window, is adapted from a short story written in the 1930s. The other is about a Grandpa who is feeling down and is lifted up by others’ kindness at Christmastime.

The number of hungry people in America has grown exponentially in 2020. In a country as prosperous and blessed as ours, this simply should not be. Take some time and resources and do something to help. If we all did a little, fewer people would suffer.

Here’s a sign I found on Pinterest. It sums up how I feel about the holidays. Copy this image, print it, and put it where you can see it through the end of the year.

Happy Holidays to one and all!