As we begin a new year, perhaps it would be wise to look back over the past year and see where we need to make changes in our life. One such place might be the source(s) of our information.

During the Christmas holidays the television was flooded with commercials from many businesses hoping to sell their products as Christmas gifts.

But a few of the commercials had a different message. Four in particular touched my heart.

My all time favorite Christmas commercial is one that has been around for a few years. Sponsored by the Eat’n’Park restaurants, it shows a little star struggling to get to the top of the Christmas tree. When the star has done all it knows to do to get to the top of the tree and finally collapses beside the tree, the Christmas tree gently bends down and lifts the star to its top, where the star immediately begins to sparkle and glow.

How many times, when we have done everything we know to do and just don’t seem to have any energy left, does someone come along with a helping hand — a blessing — for us, and we are revived, with strength to continue the task set before us?

My second favorite commercial was new, either this year or last. Sponsored by First Commonwealth banks, it shows a little boy building a snowman, some distance from his house. After the boy runs back to his house the wind starts blowing and the snowman starts shivering. Suddenly the little boy runs back, takes his scarf off and wraps it around the snowman’s neck. The snowman stops shivering and starts smiling.

Silly, perhaps. But the commercial is a great reminder to us to keep our eyes open for opportunities to share what we have with someone in need. It also reminds us how warm we feel when someone is kind to us.

Another favorite has also been aired for a few years. It shows a little bell choir of Hershey kisses playing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” At the end of the chorus one little kiss has the final note, and when he’s finished he sighs with relief that he didn’t fail.

The little choir, and especially the kiss at the end, reminds us how good we will feel when we know we have done our best, whether the job be large or small.

The fourth commercial plays my favorite Christmas song, “Silent Night,” while showing babies sleeping. There are boys and girls of different races and skin colors, sleeping peacefully in their little beds. Sponsored by Pampers diapers, it is a gentle yet powerful reminder that all skin colors and races are equally important, because all were created by the One who came to earth on that silent night, offering peace to all.

Other than having the sponsor’s name, not one of these commercials were “pushing their products,” so to speak. Instead they chose to focus attention on the real gifts of Christmas — love, happiness, sharing, peace. We could probably find other gifts in those commercials, too. Those messages will be remembered for a long time.

On the other hand, how many of us can remember even one commercial that we saw for clothes or tools or toys or some other “must have” gift for the Christmas we just celebrated?

The commercials shown during the Christmas season give us a great lesson for the new year we have just begun. Will we focus our attention on the material things of the world that are quickly forgotten, or will our attention be turned to those things that can last a lifetime?

Thought for the week — Each day comes bringing its own gifts.

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