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The Reason For Seasons
Merry Magic of Giving
by Maricia Mlynek

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As adults, we tend to miss the magic of this time of year. The season becomes too busy, too tiring, and too overwhelming. With all the commercials, we get tired of the Fa La La of December.

I remember my days in the classroom and how this time of year would send my students into an absolute dither. Those last few weeks before break would truly be survival of the fittest for this science teacher. It always seemed that the more tired I got, the more energetic they became. Christmas break cruelly dangled out in front of me beyond my reach. I was not dreaming of a white Christmas. I was dreaming of outlasting the little dears that couldn’t sit still from all the sugarplums dancing about in their heads.

Honestly, most of my stress was due to crazy service projects that I felt were necessary for the students to understand the “season of giving.” There was the year I decided to undergo “Operation Warm Up.” This was a jacket and hat drive for needy children. Though it was a great deal of work, it was a learning experience for my students--and their teacher.

There was the annual Christmas trip to the soup kitchen to serve a meal to the homeless. This trip was priceless. For some of my students, it was the first time they had ever truly seen sadness in the eyes of the lost and lonely. It is easy to forget how good it can feel to give of ourselves. I don’t mean money or something that is wrapped in pretty paper, but to serve someone with our hands and hearts.

One year, my students wrote thousands of letters to our service men and women overseas. One entire wall in my classroom listed the names of each marine, sailor and soldier that received a warm greeting from Mrs. Mlynek’s little helpers. I worked hard to make sure that in the “season of giving” all of my apple dumplings knew what it looked like to give.

At the end of the long weeks, when the countdown showed zero, I would pack away my desk and thank God I had survived. I would normally have a load of presents to carry to the car, as many students would give their old teacher a candle or cookies for the holiday. Yet, the greatest gift was in knowing that we had perhaps made Christmas a little better for someone else.

When you start to turn a bit green and begin to resemble the Grinch, when you are losing the magic of the season and forgetting the excitement of the holiday, here is the remedy. Make Christmas merrier for somebody else. Take hold of the “season of giving” and give. You will be amazed at how good it can feel to become the blessing.

The magic can be in the merriment of a complete stranger. A warm jacket, a warm bowl of soup, a warm greeting, and a warm heart all go together. At least that is what this teacher was taught by her students. It is no coincidence that the first Christmas was due to a child born in a manger.

“. . . and a child will lead them.”


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