A little bit of kindness goes a long way

Published 4:52 pm Wednesday, January 11, 2023

By Ann-Marie Montegue

Now that we have put away our Christmas trees and wreaths, let us not put away our spirit of generosity and kindness towards our neighbors.  Folks aways seem to think of helping others around Thanksgiving and Christmas but, truth be told, we have our neighbors right here in Beaufort County who need us all through the year.  Hunger happens every day of the year; homelessness affects many every day of the year; domestic violence affects many every day of the year.  These are only a few of the examples of how we as Christians are needed to put our faith into practice.

Loving God and loving our neighbors should be our goals every day.  We show God our love by showing and sharing God’s love with our neighbors by donating a coat or gloves to a homeless shelter so that someone is warm during the winter season, or maybe donating socks to the men’s shelter, holding a neighborhood food drive to help support the local food pantry or donating unused suitcases and duffle bags for use by the many foster children whose belongings are carried around in plastic garbage bags.

Or perhaps sharing our time, talent and/or treasure with an organization in our community whose entire mission is to help others.  There are many ways you can continue to share that great Christmas spirit of generosity all through the year.

Christmas is past; the New Year of 2023 has begun. Some of us make resolutions this time of year: to lose weight, to save more for retirement or to exercise more.  While our intentions may be good, the truth is that most of us have shattered those resolutions by the end of January.  After all, we are all human.  God knows just how human we are; that is because of the miracle of the Incarnation, God being born in human form and living among us to show us the way to live our lives.  God knows our intentions are good, but our human nature many times just gets in the way of our fulfillment of our good intentions. But please don’t let that stop you from getting back on track and putting your Christian values into action.  The beginning of this new year might be a great time to promise yourself (and God) to do better, to act better, to actually reach out in some manner to show God’s love to our neighbors who need us.

One of my favorite quotes is from St. Augustine: “Pray like everything depends upon God but work like everything depends upon you.”  We know God hears our prayers, but God also sees and knows our actions and how they impact other’s lives.

That bag of food you delivered to the food pantry, that extra coat you gave to the cot drive at a local church or shelter, that check you sent to help others, that block of time you spent at the local non-profit agency helping others; that’s what God sees you doing.  Those actions are what really count in showing love to both God and our neighbors.

Take time today to consider what you might be able to do this new year to share God’s love with others. It does not have to be something large or spectacular; often it is the little bit of kindness you show others that matters most.

Be kind in 2023.

Ann-Marie Montague is a member of Zion Episcopal Church in Washington.