The important lesson I learned from my Christmas village

One of my favorite things to do each holiday season is set up our Christmas village. There are numerous pieces, and each one comes together to form a cozy little town on the buffet in my dining room. We turn the light bulbs on inside the ceramic homes and buildings, and watch as the imaginary Christmas village bustles.

This year, as I examined the small town, I had a sudden, important realization.

It really does take a village.

We all know teamwork is important. And we were taught to respect our neighbors and appreciate their contributions. But until I saw this ideal world played out in the form of fragile figurines in my dining room, I didn’t truly realize it.

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See, the train wouldn’t wind through the snowy village without the conductor. And it wouldn’t make it on time, or maintain safety, if it weren’t for the man standing outside the station, waving it on.

The mom and little daughter who enjoy the ice skating rink in the center of town wouldn’t be able to have those memories if it weren’t for those who keep the street lights lit above them and the ice maintained.

The grocery shop behind the ice skating rink wouldn’t have the food each resident needs without the help of the grocers, the stockers, the cashiers, and the farmers.

The little girl carrying a freshly cut tree home for the holidays wouldn’t have as much Christmas spirit if it weren’t for the people who planted and tended to the tree as it grew.

The school, the church, the homes… they all exist because of the workers in this tiny village.

Even the boys in the middle of their snowball fight benefit from the efforts of those who keep them safe, warm, and fed.

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This Christmas, I’m thankful for people I regrettably pay too little attention to. Because now that I have a child to raise, I realize with certainty that there are others helping me along the way. Like:

  • The neighbors who keep silent watch over my home
  • The teachers who shape my son when I’m not there
  • The farmers who grow food so I can provide nourishment
  • The doctors who look out for my child’s well-being
  • The friends who check on us and encourage us and pray for us
  • The family who never lets us stumble
  • The employees who work to keep the heat on in our home
  • The police offers and soldiers who sacrifice to keep us safe
  • The clergy who dedicate their lives to sharing love
  • The strangers who open doors and exchange smiles
  • The fellow moms who lend advice and support

This is not the end of the list. In fact, it’s incredibly long when you really stop and think about it.

I challenge you to send a holiday greeting to them. Drop a note of thanks. Send an email just to say hello. Leave a small gift of appreciation in their path.

We may not actually live in a Christmas village. We have real problems, setbacks, and lives. Still, we can learn from the simplicity of the imaginary town, and we can always appreciate the people in our (Christmas) village.

How has your day been changed (or maybe, not changed) by the unnoticed actions of others?What ideas do you have for showing appreciation this time of year?

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