This is one of my favorite times of the year because I love giving gifts and celebrating the freedom that Jesus brought to us all. Like most traditional Christian families teach, I was taught that Christmas is Jesus’ birthday. But I also knew about Santa Claus, though not the history of the real person, Saint Nicholaus, which is supposedly what the legend of Santa Claus is built on. Every culture seems to have its “Santa Claus” though. I think it’s because we all need to slow down, think of others before ourselves, and extend the love of God that lives inside all of us. If, and when, we look inside ourselves, we feel the pull and tug of His eternal love longing to be given to each other. It doesn’t have to be gifts of money or things. In fact, when we give based on what we thoughtfully see someone needs or wants, that person feels truly loved. Sometimes it’s the gift of your time spent listening to the other person. Or noticing that someone can’t pay for an item in their grocery cart and buying it for them. Donating your time at a soup kitchen, or simply smiling at everyone you pass by. I try to remind myself that I don’t know what someone else’s day has held, and kindness could change the way it’s going. I hope your holiday season is filled with opportunities to spread kindness and love to all you come in contact with, and that you are surrounded with loving family and friends!