Small Italian Stone Pine, reads the tree-shaped tag, attached to a ruby-red string tied in a relaxed knot around one of the Christmas bush’s appropriately-sized branches.
The branches, all fifteen of them, each maintain different levels of excitement for their lifetime achievement as pine needle ports. Some of these tree’s limbs stand high and tight with pride for their Christmas calling. Others seem to lack a certain seasonal joy, choosing a droopier disposition than their fellow needlers.
Speaking of this tiny pine’s needles, well, their trying hard with what they’ve got. Some of the boughs have dense growth, rich with their signature green stain. A few of their neighbors are less fortunate, with slower growth and dimmer color. But, not to worry; where they are bare, they are brightened by brilliantly-red bulbs.
Not to be outdone by the barely-there-bits of shimmering green tinsel, decorating the tree limbs like emerald gemstone bracelets. Don’t forget about this tiny tree’s tract, a deep pot, filled full of rich, life-giving soil. And trimmed with glittery wrapping tied by a crimson bow.
To be as clear as a cold winter’s night, this tree is not one the Nutcracker would deem worthy of a storied Christmas’ centerpiece, but it is surely a tree that Tiny Tim would bless, over and over again.
This Christmas bush waited patiently in the crisp afternoon air to be picked from a small wooden shelf outside a storefront. Obviously tiny, but not less mighty, this mini-tree knew it wouldn’t be long before being welcomed into a home, adding a touch more warmth and joy.
Deep impact and forever-long impressions aren’t made from the size or sound of the glory and the glow.
When the new week dawns, keep top of mind that even the smallest gestures or gentlest, almost unrecognizable, touches will have the strongest effect on someone’s season.
Tomorrow, lead with kindness and do with dignity and compassion for others around you.
Smile at the grumpy guy in line at the gas station. Tell the busy barista you appreciate her attention to detail. Pray for the person who cuts you off in traffic.
Take a deeper breath and think longer before responding unkindly or too quickly. Say ‘thank you’ and ‘you’re welcome’ more often.
Ask people how they are and listen when they answer. Offer to help somebody even when you have somewhere to be, five minutes ago. Have dinner with a loved one; don’t just go out to eat together, share a meal and the entire experience.
Acts of goodness like these are small, but the seeds they plant will grow big change in the hearts of those around you. Never underestimate your power to brighten a day or shift a perspective.
Like the Christmas bush seated on my kitchen countertop, near peppermint candles and cinnamon scented pinecones, sometimes the best gifts are the smallest surprises.