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Run, run, as fast as you can. . .

The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members. -Coretta Scott King

As you know, we are hopeless Hallmark Romantics. Scott and I met 20 years ago in April and one of our first dates was going to a Vintage Holiday shop, looking at all of the ornaments. It was the first person that I met in my adult life that shared the same love and excitement for the holidays that I did.

The spirit of Christmas and the holidays means so much more than gifts. It is the power of community coming together, kindness towards your neighbors, unexpected surprises, conversations with people that maybe have been missed for some time, or unexpected love that has been wrapped up neatly in a box for years.

So, we wanted to share with you what our neighborhood decided to do this year. We had a Christmas in July meeting, yes, you read that correctly, we hand delivered the written invitations, and waited to see who would come to our meeting. We were so surprised that more than a dozen people showed up. Neighbors were excited to come together for the holiday season.

Fast forward, 5 months later, over 20 Gingerbread men were created by @ilerwoods to display in people’s yards. It did get a bit crazy, the week leading up to the distribution, but isn’t that how life is? When there is a deadline, the week before can be hard, but in that struggle is where we find beauty and moments of pride.

 Of course it would be fun to win a contest for our city but more importantly, we are witnessing first hand kindness that is spreading through our entire neighborhood. People are taking a longer moment to bring in trash cans and chat with neighbors, one neighbor surprised another neighbor with a gingerbread man, a painting party was hosted for neighbors who didn’t have supplies, and the list continues to go on.

 My heart is full, it’s a dream I have had for a long time to show my girls the power of community. In a world, when we see daily how individuals are working against each other, I got a small moment to show my kids the power of what we can achieve when we work together.

Regardless of religion, race, age, personal beliefs, our diverse community came together, and you know what? It feels good.

It feels better than any gift that would be under that Christmas tree. Because this gift is going to last much longer. It’s in our hearts, and I suspect that there will be many years to come of this new holiday tradition.

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