Monday, December 12, 2005

Thoughts on "Christmas spirit"

I've seen some interesting posts on other people's blogs lately about the spirit of Christmas (one of which was apparently inspired by me!)

So, to join in the conversation... Here's an anecdote to ponder:

I was once touched by a story I heard about Mother Teresa. Apparently, she was being interviewed by a radio program in the States. The announcer said they'd like to give her a gift, but didn't know what she'd like. She said something to the effect of:

"Yes, there is something I would like. I would like for you to get up at 4:00 a.m. Go downtown. Look around. Find a homeless person who is completely and utterly alone. And convince him that he is not.”

Who knows if the story is true or not, but it does leave us with much to think about.

And the interesting thing is that… you could do this at any time of year.

About 5 years ago I started to do volunteer work. I don’t always have a lot of time for it, but since I started, I’ve never quit.

I know that at this time of year, some agency directors actually get frustrated because they are positively inundated with calls from people wanting to come and help serve Christmas dinner. They say, “Why don’t these people come and volunteer in the bitter cold of February or when it's the middle of summer and our volunteer pools are down because people are on holidays? Don’t they know that people are homeless all year ’round?”

I hope I don’t sound like too much of a Scrooge if I say that I think sometimes the Christmas spirit is a bit like an infection… It festers and grows, and then you get it out of your system and next thing you know it’s gone. That sounds a bit harsh, I know... and I don't mean for it to be. I actually love the holiday season, but the fact "Christmas spirit" is just that... only around at Christmas... makes me sad.

They say, “Kindness counts for a lot”. There is, however, no time restriction put on that. We could choose to be kind to one another all the time… but we forget.

Sometimes when I go to the gym, the fellow who gives me my towel will say, “Happy Tuesday!” or “Happy Thursday!” In a way that says, “Isn’t it great to be alive today?! Let’s celebrate it.” I think maybe he’s on to something.


madcapmum said...

Or better yet, "Happy Monday" if that isn't too much of an oxymoron.

You're right, there's too much emphasis on "Christmas spirit", and too little on a lifestyle of open-heartedness. Amen and amen, sister.

ipodmomma said...

I know exactly what you mean...

I try to be just as generous the other 11 months as I am in December. there are needy folks all the time...

will post about the AGA very soon... it is basically this oven that is always on, and once you get used to it, very accomodating...

zouzou said...

mea culpa! mea culpa! or some other latin phrase of contrition and guilt. I pass by beggar people every day on my way to work and back. Some of them are selling papers, some are just hanging out asking for money. I usually ignore them unless I have change in my pocket. And then I feel guilty for not stopping to find a loonie. I am blessed with so much, and money is so easy to give, and I still don't do it very often! most depressing. Calgary is indeed turning into a big city. the panhandlers don't leave every winter any more. I see guys out there rain or shine, even when it's -30. Occasionally the paper will run a story about them, and often they make $30-40 a day. Which is fine to feed yourself but not enough to get a place to live.

Sarah Elaine said...

One quick comment to Z. - Nothing in the Mother Teresa story relates to money. I also choose not to give money to street people, though I have been known to give food to them.

I don't give money for two main reasons: One, I give generously to charities either through direct donation, or by sponsoring people involved in fundraising events.

Two, my very first job was in a grocery store. Beggars would scrounge enough money to come in and by what they were after... and it wasn't food. They knew when they had just enough for a can of Lysol and that's all they ever bought.

Never forgot that.

Turtle Guy said...

I'm really touched by your post - and your comments here. Another blog pending...