I watched as an older lady broke down in tears as she was handed a present. Two other ladies with whom I was volunteering came to give her a hug, and they cried with her.
A couple days before Christmas, I had the opportunity to volunteer at a church to give Christmas presents to families with needs. When I was asked if I would like to help, I grabbed the opportunity, excited to help these people. Little did I know how much they would help me instead. There’s no greater joy than bringing joy to those who experience so little of it. That was definitely one of the highlights of my Christmas vacation. You'd think moving tons of boxes, handing out wrapping paper, and helping carry presents to people's cars would be boring. It wasn't. I enjoyed every moment of hearing "thank you's" and surprised exclamations, seeing smiles erupt from people's faces as if those smiles had been buried for days, meeting new people, and hearing hundreds of "Merry Christmas's." Since my family is on the mission field in the Philippines, I haven't had Christmas with them for the past three years, so I can get pretty homesick during the season. This is one experience, though, that took a little of my homesickness and transformed it into a little more Christmas spirit. Call me a little kid, but I'm already looking forward to the next one.
Christmas is over, and after five weeks of vacation, we’re back at college! I hope you all had a great vacation and were able to do great things, and I’m incredibly excited to start another semester (especially since I’m graduating in May). I’d also like to welcome all of the new students this semester! We’re very excited to have you here and hope you’ll enjoy being here as well.