Saturday, December 25, 2021 | The Merry Christmas Week
Today is Christmas. For years, this year, being no different, I have made a tradition of finding an unusual gift for each of my three children. They are never extravagant things – sometimes they make them laugh, other times they cause them to think, still other times they find them useful. Truth be told, I get more joy from finding then giving these trinkets each year than my children get even from opening them. But they remain a highlight of each Christmas morning. So much so that these little gifts are often the first to be opened each year. I can’t remember exactly when it started, but the why has always been pretty clear: I’ve wanted them to be things they remember, that cause them to think about Christmas and, of love, and the joy of giving.
This year, as I watched them open their gifts from father, it occurred to me that, for those of us who believe, the present we celebrate today, what St. Paul called an “indescribable gift,” was itself an unordinary gift from Our Father. That He would have given to us his only begotten son, as an infant, would have been, by any account, unusual. And to me, it’s what makes this day so special, and the joy we feel beyond words. For the more unusual the gift, the more it seems to mean to us.
And that’s the point for the week.
When things are expected, they are, well, expected. The value and memorability of things seem to be inversely proportional to the degree to which they’ve been counted on. It’s why random and genuine recognition means so much to people. Doubt it? Write someone a handwritten note of gratitude … I can assure you that in most cases, the recipient will still have it years later. Because people treasure that which they least expect.
Leaders who understand this make a lasting and unforgettable impact on those who follow them. They do so, because they never tire of surprising others, of lifting them up, and of doing things to show them that they are loved and cared for. And in so doing, they build trust by the armload, without which, no organization can succeed.
Doing the unexpected for others isn’t hard to do, but it requires a nearly incalculable personal investment – to be present in the lives of others, to understand them individually and personally, and to put their interests and needs before one’s own. Like that cold, December morning in Bethlehem 2,000 some-odd years ago, when the unthinkable occurred … when the light of the world came to dwell amongst us.
Do unusual things for others.
Peace on Earth.
For more about Phillip Kane, please click HERE.
To pre-order Phillip’s new book, The Not So Subtle Art of Caring: Letters on Leadership, from John Hunt Publishing, please follow this LINK.
Image credit: Jametlene Reskp | Unsplash.com