The Christmas holiday is about giving

Published 8:39 am Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Christmas is a time of giving.
Newscaster Eric Sevareid, who is now deceased, always said: “Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we’re here for something else besides ourselves.”
Christmas is a magical time of the year — lots of twinkling lights, decorated Christmas trees, colorful wrapped packages, savory smells from the kitchen, and of course, Santa Claus.
It is also a time of giving — not only to our family and loved ones, but to those in need.
However, there are many across this nation who may not be having a joyous Christmas. Thousands have been left homeless by the wildfires in California and hurricanes and storms in Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Many families are hurting after losing a loved one in deadly shootings across this nation of ours. They are in mourning this Christmas season. Please say a prayer for them.
Also, there are servicemen away from their families this holiday season. Some are serving in Afghanistan, others near the Mexican border, and others at a military base in the U.S. or abroad. Please remember these troops.
Then, there are some who cannot afford to even celebrate this Christmas season. We encourage you to consider helping these people, many of whom live in our midst.
A good place to start is a generous donation to a worthy organization such as the Salvation Army, the local Assistance Resource Ministry (ARM), Hale Community Ministry, or some other charity.
After all, giving is the tradition of Christmas, just as God gave his son to the world.
Christmas is also a time to enjoy the spirit of the season.
We are all rushed in the race to get ready — there are multiple family gatherings, countless trips to complete our gift lists, food to prepare and decorations to put up.
But remember, the holidays are about giving, and giving thanks. The holidays are about children and family. The holidays are about sharing, about joy. The holidays are about being thankful and about faith and appreciation. The holidays are about alleviating suffering for others.
Many of us, if not most of us, go through our usual routines without encountering evidence of needy families among us.
Countless children among us receive free or subsidized meals at school, a significant measure of poverty. These are children who are living in families who may be on the brink of homelessness, families who must choose between medical bills, car repair, heat and food. These are children who may not be sure that they will have a meal between the meals they get in school. School holidays can bring uncertainty and hunger, a far cry from the celebrations, gifts and plenty that we associate with Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The charities and other nonprofits that make such a big difference in Carter County and Elizabethton need our help year-round. That’s why it’s so important to give generously at Christmastime.
Just as holiday shoppers are essential for many businesses to have a successful year, holiday giving is essential for many nonprofits to have a successful year. Yes, people give to their favorite causes year-round. But without the burst of giving at Christmastime, charities and other nonprofits would likely fall short on the funding they need to support their missions.
ARM is a program that jumps to mind. It’s a major fundraiser, not just for the holidays, but well beyond. It helps provide food to families year-round, as well as clothes, and other aid.
Another example is the Salvation Army’s red kettle campaign. Yes, it helps bring a little joy to needy families at Christmas; but it also makes it possible for the group to serve the poor and needy year-round. It operates myriad services from a clothing closet to food bank.
Many, many great non-profit groups in our community are doing work that, frankly, benefits all of us. Giving is a personal decision. Our area has multiple options. Please choose the one that fits best.
We often have bad news to report on these pages. But there is good news reported, too; very often stories of people and groups who are helping others in life-changing — and even lifesaving — ways.
By giving of our treasure and of our time, maybe we will see fewer stories of darkness and more of light.
That is very much in keeping with the spirit of the holidays.

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