I am writing about Christmas, but this is about something that really bothers
me. I was raised Catholic, and maybe that’s partly why I have always thought of
Christmas as a season and not just one day. The Christmas tree went up on the
24th of December and was not taken down until after Olde Christmas
Day on the 6th of January. When I was a child Christmas meant going
to church, visiting my grandparents, and spending time with family and friends.
When I was very little there was a lot of excitement surrounding gifts and
anticipating what Santa might bring, but as I grew older, and especially after
I had children of my own, I grew to appreciate the beauty of Christmastime. And
not just the scrumptious food and merry-making, but the deeper, long-lasting
values of selfless giving; of the importance of goodwill, faith, peace and love.
The charitable impulses often lost in the daily grind are more on display at
Christmas than at any other time of year. Thankfully that still seems to be the
this more secular world are we losing out on some of these values? A young
person I worked with seemed aghast when I said I might wear my Christmas
sweater to work on the 27th – I had been telling an employee who was
not there last year about how chilly the place is after being closed a few days
and how she should wear something warm. My Christmas sweater is very warm. At
any rate, my young co-worker was surprised at the idea of my wearing it after
Christmas day. It led me to wondering once again about how fast-paced life has
become and how the season of Christmas seems to grow shorter and shorter year
after year. It saddens me. Have the ‘twelve days of Christmas’ been shortened
to only one?
does Christmas mean to you? Is it only one day out of the year, or like myself,
do you see it as more than that? I think, more than ever, we need that spirit
of goodwill; of peace on earth. And we need to have more than just one day to
I always find this time of year with its total obsession on Black Friday sales and rampant consumerism rather disheartening and troublesome. At a time when climate change is causing natural disasters everywhere it is obscene the number of trucks, trains, planes, freighters, and various modes of transport that puff smoke into the air as goods are shipped around the world. The production and transportation, and consumption of said goods adding to the carbon imprint on our planet, and therefore adding to global warming. What will it take, I wonder, for humanity to become aware and take charge to change the damage we are doing to earth.
And then came the concept of Giving Tuesday. A day set aside to give back through a united effort to harness the resources, time, and talents of organizations and individuals to make a positive difference in our world. By doing so the small acts of kindness are magnified and enlarged. To give does not necessarily mean financial donations, but the giving we can all do no matter what our bank account balance may be. We can all be a little kinder, a little less self-absorbed.
A homeless man who is at the library where I work on a daily basis has taught me much about giving. He gives of himself every day – by making us smile and laugh at his jokes. Sometimes he brings us little gifts like candy. He is so grateful for the services we offer (and which we are being paid to offer). This man is so full of joy and life, despite his present circumstances. He helps me-remember what life is truly about – caring for one another. How he keeps his sense of humour astounds me at times. Even in the dead of winter when temperatures can plummet substantially and we each grouse about the cold and having to leave our warm homes (with full bellies), or having to clean snow off our windshields, this man braces the cold and takes a bus to the library where he regales us with stories and his views about our fellow citizens and community.He makes light of just about everything. I am so grateful for this individual.
So,today is Giving Tuesday. Let’s be a little kinder and let it serve to remind us we are not the be-all and end-all of existence, and we can make a difference.
When I was a little kid we carried a UNICEF box with us when we went out to trick or treat. We asked for pennies for UNICEF, which were dropped into our boxes at each one of our stops. Many households were happy to comply. I think it was a wonderful way to make children aware of others who were not so fortunate as we were (and are). Read more