Sitting in my recliner and pondering the events of the day, our doorbell rang. We have been besieged with deliveries from somewhere or another, so I assumed that it was yet another courier. But to my joy and surprise, it was a neighbor delivering a collection of holiday cookies. We had seen this neighbor before when he approached us in our driveway, introduced himself and welcomed us to the neighborhood.

The cookies were festive, tasty and decorated in glittery tissue paper with red acorns that were painted to look like trees. Reflecting on the gesture, I was touched and enchanted.

Isn’t it sad that a neighbor who shares holiday cookies comes as a remarkable surprise? Have we become so isolated and unfriendly that seeing someone going to the trouble of bringing a treat is shocking? When we were a society of small towns, people sharing the lives of their community members and generally living as villagers, this gift would be customary, not surprising.

With further reflection, I confirmed my intent to reciprocate although the gift was clearly offered with no expectation of anything in return. Both for the sake of extending good cheer and for telling neighbors how much I treasure their spirits, cookie baking is in my near future.

Thankfully, I have no intention of dismissing cordial treatment from those around me. The store personnel will receive thank you and holiday greetings as they are dispensed, I will open doors, relinquish parking spaces and tell as many veterans as possible that we appreciate their service. My most sincere hope is that I will never become too old or cynical not to value gestures of kindness and sincerity.

Many signs of neighborhood geniality suggest to me that our society is not in decline.  A promise that I will fulfill is to continue finding methods by which I can cherish and salute my fellow man. Shalom.

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