Almost every Christmas I have an "Aha moment" where I see the true spirit and meaning of Christmas shining.
Sometimes it's in a play or a song, other times it might be in an act of kindness.
Today I saw it while ringing bells for the Salvation Army in North Platte.
The day was perfect to stand at the southwest door of Walmart. Just a light breeze, a bright sun-filled sky and the temperature was very comfortable with just a light winter coat.
I greeted people with a "Hi! How are you?" and said "Thank you" and "Have a Merry Christmas" to those who stopped by to put a some change or a few dollar bills in the recognizable red bucket with the Salvation Army name on it.
A modestly dressed, short lady, leaning on her cart for support, approached our post. A child - I'm guessing a grandchild, maybe 11 years old or so, but taller than she was - accompanied her.
After receiving some money to put in the bucket, the child reached out to put the money into the "X" slots in the red bucket.
"No," the lady said. "Wait, I want you to think about what you are doing."
"They are collecting money for the Salvation Army. It helps people who may not have food to eat or don't have a good place to sleep.
"When you put the money in the bucket," she continued, "I want you to think about all you have and I want you to put the money into the bucket with gratitude."
The child nodded thoughtfully and reached over to put the money into the red bucket.
"Thank you and have a wonderful Christmas," I told the lady and child.
"Aha!" I thought to myself as they walked into the store, totally unaware of the gift they had given me for the Christmas season.