The Value of a Smile at Christmas
It costs nothing, but creates much.
It enriches those who receive, without impoverishing those who give.
It happens in a flash and the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.
None are so rich they can get along without it, and none are so poor but are richer for its benefits.
It creates happiness in the home, fosters good will in a business, and is the countersign of friends.
It is rest to the weary, daylight to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and Nature’s best antidote for trouble.
Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is no earthly good to anybody till it is given away.
And if in the last-minute rush of Christmas buying, should some of our salespeople be too tired to give you a smile, may we ask you to leave one of yours?
For nobody needs a smile so much as those who have none left to give!
— Dale Carnegie,
“A Simple Way to Make a Good First Impression” from “How to Win Friends and Influence People”
In his book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” Dale Carnegie devoted an entire chapter entitled “A Simple Way to Make a Good First Impression” on the topic of smiling. He concludes the chapter with an excerpt taken from a New York City department store’s advertisement. Although I love what it says, I have to say that I don’t think Christmas is the only time a smile is valuable!
Every Sunday I am reminded of the difference a smile makes. The frontline volunteers (ushers, parking lot, Welcome Center, door, and Hospitality Cart greeters) make a conscious effort to smile at everyone they come in contact with — and the effect is contagious. When asked why they keep coming back week after week, the answers from these volunteers always make me smile! Without exception, they are quick to say that they are the ones blessed during the time they serve our church as greeters. They say that it “makes their day” to share their smiles every Sunday.
And you know what? They may be on to something. Research has proved the “facial feedback hypothesis” to be true. Facial feedback means that when the brain senses the flexion of certain facial muscles it interprets this muscle movement as “I must be happy about something.” Likewise, when those muscles are not being flexed, then your brain does not sense that you are happy (even if you are!). So according to this research, all you have to do to improve your mood (and “make your day”) is flex your facial muscles to raise the corners of your mouth. And, whether you actually feel happy or not, this is scientific proof that your smile is a powerful tool: not only do you smile because you’re happy, you feel happier because you smile.
All “scientific proof” aside, smiles are also contagious. So when you have a group of folks dedicated to sharing their smiles each and every week, it just follows that people are smiling right back — and Sunday morning greeting makes everyone feel good!
With a big thank-you to our Sunday morning volunteers for making it Christmas every Sunday at FUMCFW, I invite all who are interested in lifting their spirits to become part of this amazing process I watch unfold each and every Sunday morning.
See you this Sunday!
Director of Welcoming Ministries