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Maybe you’re like me. Someone asks what you want for Christmas and you think, “Well, I already really have everything I really need.” We end up choosing gift cards, coffee mugs, T-shirts, and other socially acceptable selections for the convenience of friends and family.

But there is one thing we agree on that everyone needs–compassion. Compassion is usually defined as sympathy or concern for the needs of others. What if instead of choosing a wish list we chose a compassion list?

What if you and I and every person reading these words chose to do something specific to help another person–starting today? From holding the door for a stranger at a store to helping with the bills of a single mom in need of assistance, there are plenty of places to begin.

So here’s my challenge. Today is December 1. Counting today, there are 25 days to the celebration of the birth of Jesus, the one known as the perfect example of compassion. Let’s choose to do something each day to reflect his love to those we see today.

If you do, you might not change the world, but you’ll change the world for one person.

Don’t know where to begin? Here are seven examples to get you started in showing compassion to others:

  1. Write and encouraging note or card: It’s Christmas! This is the best time of the year to send a card. Take an extra moment to write a personal word to someone you love to let them know  how special they are to you.
  2. Make a call: Many of us text constantly, yet rarely talk on the phone to our loved ones far away. Surprise that special someone with an extended conversation that emphasizes how important the other person is to you.
  3. Volunteer for the holidays: There are plenty of places to help this Christmas season. On you own or with a few friends, choose a way to get involved and make a difference.
  4. Give a hug (when appropriate): This one can be awkward in certain contexts, but a genuine, caring hug between family members or friends can communicate compassion in ways words cannot express.
  5. Choose a cause: Do you have a cause you care deeply about? If not, consider where you can give back. You don’t have to start a nonprofit or launch a petition (though this would be great). Instead, consider where you can invest some of your spare time to change lives.
  6. Share a meal: Many friends say, “We should get together soon,” and months or years pass and nothing happens. Choose one friend. Contact. Schedule a meal or coffee. See what happens.
  7. Smile: Yes, smile. It seems so simple, yet staying positive during life’s difficult moments can bring hope to those who are frustrated and hurting.

Where will you show compassion today?

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