I had a simple Christmas. We opened presents at my brother and sister-in-laws house, lazed around, and then headed to meet more family for lots of delicious food, good conversation, and finished the evening by watching Elf.

When we came home, I opened my laptop to see what others had done on this day of festivities and then checked BBC News. I have been avoiding the news. It is much harder to read about the pains and troubles of others when you are surrounded by joy and cheer.

My response upon seeing the latest headlines was fairly cliche–there are so many people around the world today who are struggling and hurting and suffering. Today is just another day for them to get up and do what they have to do.

But having a cliche reaction is better than having no reaction at all. If I had opened BBC News on my browser and thought, “Well, there it is. The world going about its business, complete with evil, suffering, and chaos” I would–in a way–be contributing to the atrocities of the world.

What I am trying to say is we should not need days like Christmas to remember all the bad–and good–things going on around us. Pay attention to the troubles of others. Smile at someone who looks like they are having a bad day.

As a wise wizard said, “I [find] it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay…small acts of kindness and love.”