One of my favorite books of all time is Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. We have all read it at some point or another—whether you were forced to read it in school or if you happened upon an old spare copy on your grandmother’s dusty, old bookshelf. Though I was forced to read it for the first time in sixth grade, since, I have read it countless times—for pleasure.
Since I have been back at home for my Christmas break, I found myself wanting to read Great Expectations once again. Every time that I read the novel, I am drawn to Pip’s encounter with the conman—the moment that changes Pip’s life forever, whether he initially sees this moment as such or not. In short, Pip, as young, poor child finds himself at the mercy of a conman; this conman threatens to hurt Pip if he does not bring him a tool for which he can use to unshackle himself. Pip hurriedly returns to the conman with the tool as well as an added slice of pie, as he feels pity for the poor man. This slice of pie makes the conman feel compassion and love towards Pip—as this slice of the pie was not something for which he had asked Pip to fetch for him..
This small bit of kindness leads to a great future for Pip—as he then is given the funds to become a gentleman within society by an anonymous benefactor, who turns out to be the conman. However, Pip does not know that this conman is his benefactor, as his identity is not revealed to Pip until he reaches his majority.
Nonetheless, every bit of kindness, whether small or quite large, can lead to something greater. Now, you should not be kind for the sake of expecting something in return. But, you never know where a little bit of kindness could lead you or what this small ounce of kindness could do for someone else.
I was recently in the checkout line at Target, and I simply smiled at the cashier and asked her how her day had been going and if she was excited for Christmas. She smiled, looked me in the eyes, and said, “My day seemed entirely purposeless until you walked in and asked me these questions. Now, I am happy and will continue to be so throughout the day. Thank you for taking the time to care about me.”
I was struck, as, beforehand, I could not foresee that my simple questions could make such an impact on this kind lady. But, like I said, you never know how far the tiniest bit of kindness can lead you.
Now, for Pip, his “great expectation” was to become a gentleman in society and to rise up from his poor circumstances; he was able to do this as a result of his simple kind gesture towards the conman.
I believe, as Christians, our “great expectation” looks slightly different.
Christ calls us to do what is right, even when no one is looking or even when there is nothing in store for us in return. Sometimes, this is hard to do—as we tend to be quite selfish and want rewards for our actions. But, I believe every ounce of kindness is celebrated, whether we enjoy the reaping of the act or not.
See, when Christ came to this Earth, His birth was only celebrated by a few on Earth—the three wise men, Mary and Joseph, and some lowly farm animals. However, His birth caused Heaven to shake—His birth was truly celebrated. Look at how many people Christ touched while He was on this Earth. He carried Himself in a way that reflected His Creator, and He exemplified what it truly means to be love.
Thus, this year, I challenge you to a year of great expectation—I dare you to be kind and to do what is right, even when it is hard and even when you do not receive glory for such actions afterwards; oftentimes, Christ did not receive glory when such glory was obviously due. Find comfort in the fact that Heaven celebrates every small act of kindness, the place in which glory is truly found.
Thus, I encourage you to be kind always because, like Pip, you never know where it could lead you, and Heaven is on your side.
Caroline // @carolineanisa