I love “Frosty, the Snowman”. It’s about the only Rankin-Bass Christmas special that our three-year old daughter can watch without encountering any scary Christmas monsters, like the Winter Warlock in “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town”, or the Abominable Snow-Monster – nicknamed, “Bumble” – in “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer”. I remember being quite terrified of the goggle-eyed Bumble myself when I was a toddler.
One of the best things about “Frosty, the Snowman” is that Abby likes it even more than I do. One of the worst things is that it’s a lot shorter than those other Rankin-Bass shows. I got Abby up the other morning to give my wife, Nicki, a much-needed rest. Once you have kids, “sleeping in” is usually a strange and distant memory from times past. Especially for a stay-at-home mom, for whom taking a ten-minute break is also a distant memory.
But I don’t mind. Nicki needed a break, and “Frosty, the Snowman” is actually a great story about making sacrifices for others.
After some children make a snowman and name him Frosty, they complete their creation with a magician’s discarded top hat. They’re thrilled when the hat magically causes Frosty to come to life! This prompts the self-serving magician, Professor Hinkle, to snatch back his trashed hat, realizing he can use its magic to make himself rich.
Until he notices that the temperature is rising, and he’ll soon melt. One child, Karen, hops a train with Frosty and Hocus Pocus to the North Pole, to take Frosty somewhere that he’ll never melt. She finds a perfect way for a snowman to travel, inside a freezer car.
But it’s not such a nice way for Karen, who finds herself shivering and sick from the ride. Frosty realizes he needs to leave the train and find some way to warm Karen up fast. He and Hocus Pocus find some forest animals to help them build a fire, which revives Karen, while Frosty keeps his distance. One can never be completely comfortable without making the other miserable. But they care enough for each other to make those sacrifices.
The other morning, we got an unexpected heavy snowfall. Nicki had to run out for an appointment, so she had no time to shovel the drive. I was working a late shift, so had another hour before I had to get ready. Before shoveling, I started up my car and Anna Beth’s car, to get the defrosters going. Anna Beth Wildman is a church friend who’s staying with us for a while. She had a late night, so I figured I would clear off the roof and windows of both of our cars while she got some rest.
After an hour of cleaning cars and shoveling snow, a friend, Nadean Rosborough, pulled up with her two kids, Grant and Rachel. Our neighbor, Kathie Whitney, watches the children while Nadean works. Before driving away, Nadean reminded her children, “Be a blessing!”
What a nice thing to remind people of. To actually plan on blessing others. Doing something to make someone’s day go a little easier.
A minute later, both children had grabbed shovels to help me finish up. It was certainly a blessing to my 43-year old body to have some help! I was nearly done, anyway, so I asked them if they would be okay doing the rest while I showered for work.
I expected them to finish in five minutes. Instead, they continued working, digging up the frozen ice patches that I couldn’t crack, and even shoveling our front porch! How nice to have someone volunteer to do something I had no time – and not much energy – to finish doing myself.
Thankfully, most of us don’t have to worry about big sacrifices to be a blessing, the way Frosty and Karen had to. We won’t go cold or hungry by lending someone else a hand, and we won’t melt. It just requires a slight inconvenience to our schedule to help someone who’s stranded on the road. A slight inconvenience to our finances to give someone a little extra cash, without expecting repayment. A slight inconvenience to our self-expression to keep quiet and grateful for the pink-and-orange-striped sweater that our aunt got us for Christmas. Or to keep just as quiet when our less-than-grateful niece explains that she never cared for pink and orange together.
There are so many little things people can do to be a blessing to others. As I wrote this blog, Nicki and Abby were making Christmas cookies to give out to our local police and firemen, to thank them for their ongoing service to the community. It’s something my wife has done for years, and now she gives and receives even more blessing from it by having our eager three-year old daughter help her.
It’s a blessing when kids offer to help with simple chores around the house. It’s a blessing when we make room for Anna Beth to stay with us, and when Anna Beth offers to wash dishes without even asking if we need it done.
It’s a blessing when people give you a break from your usual chores by helping out. It’s a blessing when people watch your kids so you can head to a job or an appointment, or even have a rare night out. It’s a blessing when you offer someone a smile, or a thoughtful note of appreciation and caring.
How can you be a blessing to others this Christmas and in the New Year? Start with a simple reminder to yourself to do it. Once you decide to be a blessing, you’ll be amazed at how many opportunities magically present themselves.
Be a blessing!
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