Giving is the true spirit of the holidays

Published 8:21 am Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The Christmas holidays are here.
With Thanksgiving coming late this year, Christmas is getting an early start — the lighting of the Fraser Fir officially opens the holiday season in Elizabethton. Next week is Thanksgiving and Black Friday follows — and the rush is on!
To follow will be parades, parties, and other festivities that the holiday will bring.
Because of a late Thanksgiving, Christmas displays made their way into retail stores early, and the colorful decorations that mark the holiday season are visible everywhere.
As we move closer to Thanksgiving and Christmas, let’s remember that the true spirt of the holiday season lies not in materialism, but in the gift of love.
Christmas is always a joyous time of year. It is and should remain a happy holiday for all.
However, there are some who perhaps will not have a happy Thanksgiving or a Merry Christmas.
There are the families of those killed in mass shootings this year. They are in mourning this holiday season. Please say a prayer for these families.
Others have other tragedies or losses they experienced this year.
There are some who cannot afford to even celebrate this Christmas season.
We encourage you to consider helping those in need.
A good place to start is a generous donation to a local worthy organization, such as The Salvation Army, ARM, Hale Community Ministry, Food for the Multitude, the TLC Center, or another local charity in our community. There will be numerous opportunities to give this Christmas season. School groups will have fundraisers to purchase toys and clothing for needy children. Church groups will collect food and donations that are used to feed the hungry, and other groups such as the Salvation Army will have Angel Trees to collect toys and gifts that bring cheer to kids who otherwise would have little reason to celebrate this special holiday.
Perhaps the most iconic campaign of the Christmas season is the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign. Collection kettles will set up Friday after Thanksgiving. The kettles will remain in place until Christmas Eve.
Every dollar collected in Elizabethton and Johnson City stays in the area, and that’s an important point to remember when you’re digging into your pockets or wallets to make a kettle donation.
A universal ingredient to the success of the Red Kettle campaign is volunteerism. Volunteer bell ringers are the lifeblood of the fundraising effort.
Most importantly, it matters not what charity or organization you opt to support this Christmas season. What matters is that you give.
Giving is the tradition of Christmas, just as God gave his son to the world.
There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we’re here for something else besides ourselves.
This is the time of year when people want to help the less fortunate. They remember their own family members and friends, of course. But it’s the compassion they feel and the gifts they provide for others — especially children they don’t know and will never see — that is really what holiday season giving is all about.
But it’s important to remember that needs exists throughout the year. The donations local organizations receive as a part of typical holiday giving don’t cover all the food, clothing and shelter that will be needed once all the Christmas gifts are given and the decorations are put away.
The good news is that the holiday spirit that warms your heart this time of year need not be limited to the holiday season. Need never takes time off.

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