Tuesday, December 6, 2011

St. Nicholas Day

Some folks are just naturally merry.

Take St. Nicholas, for instance. Can you imagine him complaining about the cold? Or feeling sorry for himself because he works 24/7? He's a jolly old soul whose main goal in life is to make us smile.

Today is St. Nicholas Day. Children in Holland and Germany (and lots of other places) know that St. Nick is out and about, so they leave a carrot or apple in their shoe as a snack for the reindeer. When they wake up, the carrot has been replaced with a tiny thank-you surprise, and the season of giving is ushered in.

In honor of St. Nicholas Day, I'm thinking of people who always live life as if it were filled with twinkling lights, inspiring music, exciting adventure and endless promise. The ones that make my life better just by being part of it. Optimistic people, merry people.

A cute lady I know brightens a room whenever she enters, not because of her appearance but because of her attitude, her smile and her friendliness. She has lots of interests and is very interesting, but she still seems genuinely interested in me! Another friend always asks about everyone in my family, laughs about funny things I said years ago, and finds the best in any situation. Her enthusiasm is contagious; it's a gift I get whenever we're together.

A wise man said, "Like all human behavior, optimism is learned. No one is born with it or without it. You learn it. You practice it. You try it out until it becomes a habit. And then you can't imagine behaving any other way . . .

"Begin with a smile. Take a real interest in what others are thinking, saying, and doing. Get outside yourself. You can (and do) change everyone with whom you come in contact. The question is whether you add to or subtract from the day's experience." (Don Gale)

As my St. Nicholas Day gift to you, I asked the jolly old man his secret. "I wink a lot," he said. Mmmm . . . maybe that's why he sees only the best in us. (Haven't you always wondered why he leaves presents whether you're naughty or nice?) He looks at the bright side: maybe that's why he's so merry!

Merry Christmas!

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