Psst. There’s a way to combat our isolation problem. Pass it on.

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When I was in grade school, kids would circulate handwritten notes to communicate. If a message was intended for an individual, we might even fold it intricately like some sort of origami. It was an art that, as far as I know, has been largely lost along with teaching children cursive.

Sometimes, the notes would be used to gain advocates or rally a class for a common cause. In such instances, the message would end with the directive: pass it on.

Take this as a “pass it on” message for 2020, from a grown-up:

Dear reader,

There are people in your life who need to be reminded that they matter, especially during the holiday season.

This has been true for as long as I’ve been alive, but this year has robbed many of steady companionship due to a pandemic and effects of it that are beyond their control. Those folks — in particular — need to hear from us, and so do those that we think of every now and again but don’t often get to chat with.

Before the pandemic hit, there were already articles raising flags about isolation. With lockdowns ongoing in many parts of the nation and fears about the spread of a disease that can be fatal, the elderly have been ostracized, the young have been stunted, and countless across the board have lost more than they thought they could bear.

While we might not imagine that they have troubles, some of those we care about would never let it be known and others won’t admit it to themselves.

But from those of us who wish we could reach out to someone who is no longer with us, I suggest you say what you can in this life.

We don’t all have the gift of gab, but it never hurts to spend our time on Earth connecting to people the Lord put in our lives. After all, the son of God — whose birth we celebrate on Christmas — asked us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Now seems like as good a time as any to touch base with the people in our lives to remind them that they’re important. That’s part of our job here on Earth.

I challenge you to make a few phone calls, sends some texts, or even write a letter this Christmas that you would not have, otherwise. Who knows, the person who might get the most out of it is, well, you.

Could be that you are the one who needs a chat, or you could be the connection that someone else needs — a gift neither of you were expecting.

So, for the sake of old times, send some sort of personal message. You might begin with the words, “Merry Christmas!”

Pass it on.

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