Begin New Year with Simple Acts of Blessing

Begin New Year with Simple Acts of Blessing

Now that the New Year has begun and we have made resolutions we may or may not keep, filled in the new calendar pages and look forward to what we can do to make this world a better place, I would like to share with you a simple act of blessing that we experienced this holiday season. This act can be replicated over and over and over again.

I asked friends to gather together any toiletries they had from hotel visits, the little ones we sometimes take home after our stays. And if they so desired to look around their homes and see if there were extra gloves, new socks, combs, coin purses that they could spare. Once they had their goodies, would they drop them off on our front porch?

A few days later I had received quite a stash of treasures including 35 hand sanitizers. I bought a large package of brown paper lunch bags, not a large investment. One afternoon with all four of our grandchildren ages two to 11, we created what the seven year old named Blessing Bags. 

The children decorated the bags with winter scenes, holiday stickers, sparkle. The oldest wrote an individual note she placed in each bag wishing the recipient a healthy New Year. 

Then we added the stuff. Soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, Kleenex, hand sanitizer, hats, gloves, combs, sewing kits, coin purses were gingerly dropped in each brown paper bag by the youngest children, two and three years old, under the guidance of the seven-year-old. 

We sealed the bags. Now we began our mission. Our mission involved delivering 18 Blessing Bags to the women at the Alameda Women’s shelter. Two of our grandchildren went with me to personally give the bags, seeing what it is like to lose your home, your security. 

While doing our daily travels if we saw a homeless person, we gifted them with a Blessing Bag and a “Happy Holidays and blessings from us”. The children experienced how important it is to see people, look them in the eye and acknowledge their humanity. Not one homeless person was rude or dumped the bag. On our annual trip to San Francisco to view the decorations and lights at Union Square we brought along a few bags. As we passed the homeless sitting on the sidewalk, we gave them a Blessing Bag and hello. Most were shocked we even spoke with them, much less gave them something.

This blessing cost us nothing but some time on an afternoon. We have talked about it and all decided this isn’t just a holiday event. Blessings are needed each day. We intend to create Blessing Bags each month and share our many blessings with others who are not comfy at home, or hugged good night, or looked at in the eye and acknowledged. We all were gifted too with the lesson: it doesn’t take a lot of money or fancy wrapping or one month a year to give back.

It is possible to lift others up, even a little, one brown paper lunch bag at a time. You, too, can do this.