Christmas Giving

The "Giving Spirit" Makes Christmas Season Special

By Sam Johnson

      For me, there are really five seasons in the year: winter, spring, summer, fall, and CHRISTMAS!
     And Christmas, without question, is my favorite!
     I don’t make this statement just because we happen to be entering this happy season. (Some are already a full week into it, having strung up their lights and decked out their tree the day after Thanksgiving!).
     Nor do I say this without careful thought and consideration for the other seasons, for they also hold special charms and enjoyable activities for me.
     But the thing that puts Christmas at the top of my list is that pervasive Christmas spirit that transcends all else and is observable in nearly every Christmas activity -- the spreading of goodwill toward others: the spirit of giving.
     Now I’m sure some of you will say: “Why sure Christmas is your favorite time of the year, Sam. It’s everyone’s favorite.”
     But it’s not.

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For many, Christmas is the saddest time of the year. A season filled with loneliness and despair, disappointment and depression.
     An angel-white Christmas for us turns into the blue devils for them.
     There are people who are alone -- the aged in nursing homes, widowed elderly with no family, children without parents, and parents separated from their children. There are those who are homeless or helpless or hospitalized or forgotten.
     There are people who are destitute, too poor to buy food for their table, much less able to buy presents for their family or friends.
     But the true spirit of Christmas, the spirit of giving and goodwill toward others, seems to exude from the rest of us like a salve to soothe the soreness of a Christmas without.
     And that makes me feel good, and optimistic about the human race.
     I like the Christmas season best because people help each other and are genuinely kind and considerate and pleasant.
     It truly warms my heart to see individuals and fraternal groups, businesses and churches, and other organizations band together to raise money, hold toy drives, collect food and clothing for distribution to those less fortunate or in need.
     And my heart really sings when I hear the clusters of carolers who visit hospitals, senior centers, nursing homes, or those who are “shut-in” to help “lift up” their spirits and help take the humbug out of Christmas.
     What’s more, this “giving spirit” crosses all boundaries. No matter what race, religion, or economic standing in the community, the “giving spirit” affects all people, young and old alike.
     I enjoy the Christmas season best because this “giving spirit” is highly contagious. One you’ve caught it and shared it, you feel good and worthwhile, like you are actually doing something that matters.
     And you are!
     Then you pass this “giving spirit” on to someone else, who passes it on to someone else, and for a few weeks in the year a great number of people are feeling pretty good about themselves and others, and a spirit of selflessness presides over the selfishness that often rules most of the year.
     While some people complain that the Christmas season begins too early, that it shouldn’t follow Thanksgiving so closely but be withheld until “the proper time” because it destroys “the true meaning” of Christmas, I disagree.
     The spirit of goodwill and peace associated with Christmas is no longer relegated to one particular day, but pervades the entire month, or longer, becoming a sort of separate season unto itself -- the CHRISTMAS SEASON!
    I see a tremendous amount of good that occurs during the Christmas season, a generous amount of giving!
    I say as long as the “giving spirit” prevails, let the Christmas season start as early as possible, for we an all benefit from an extra season filled with a spirit of giving, peace, and goodwill.

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