I heard this list the other day. I want to make it a yearly list of Christmas wishes, goals for me to cross off one by one to celebrate the Advent. My own little Advent calendar.
Mend a quarrel.
Seek out a forgotten friend.
Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust.
Write a letter.
Give a soft answer.
Manifest your loyalty in word and deed.
Keep a promise.
Forgo a grudge.
Forgive an enemy.
Try to understand.
Examine your demands on others.
Think first of someone else.
Laugh a little more.
Express your gratitude.
Welcome a stranger.
Gladden the heart of a child.
Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth.
Speak your love and then speak it again.
- Howard W Hunter
Each could be a moment in a day, or a long and laboured spiritual journey. I see a small notebook with a story, a word, a thought, or a heart poured out to capture the experience of each of the 22 acts. I see it added to year after year, until the pages are filled and spill onto a second, third, fourth book. I see old, crinkled eyes caressing the words of days gone by, witnessing a transformation that was too subtle to notice in the time they were actually lived. I hear a heart speaking from the dust to generations that follow, of a name on an ancestry chart that tried to be a little better as the years rolled on. I cling to the meaning of Christmas that, each year, falls a little further and further away from the world and entwines my heart with Emmanuel.