Saturday, December 20, 2008

On the Ninth Day of Christmas, the year 2008

People are so nice to each other this time of year. I love that. I would like to think that we are all good people who intend to do nice things year round. I think the reality of it is that we want to be generous with our time and money. Instead, real life intervenes, and we don't do our good works like we should, saving them, perhaps, for a better time. Then, in early December it hits us that we need to spend those good works, like our tax free healthcare accounts, by the end of the month or we'll lose them forever.

And so it begins. It's easy to drop a few bucks in the Salvation Army bucket at the Walmart. It's easier this year than ever since they are now taking credit cards. Or I guess it would be if people had room on their credit cards. LittleG and I do not walk past a Salvation Army bucket without throwing in at least some loose change. When she asks why those people are standing there collecting money, I tell her that folks who can help others should, and that we are blessed to have enough to share with people who need help right now. It's a valuable lesson, and one I hope she learns well.

My company held a food drive last week to benefit a local food bank. It got off to a really slow start, which is no surprise since most of us sell things to companies who rely on the health of the homebuilding industry to survive. Times are tough for our salespeople this year. Many are not getting the commission payments they count on to make ends meet. Some are single parents and are struggling to keep their own families fed. And yet, when the end of the food drive came, we had an entire conference room filled with canned goods and baby food. Did our folks have piles of money laying around to share with others? Absolutely not. But we gave what we could, and because of that, children will be fed, and their parents' souls nourished.

The radio and television stations are fabulous during the holidays. My favorite news team collects toys every year for needy children, and it just wouldn't be Christmas for me if the weather guys were not beamed into my TV a few nights a week, standing in a parking lot taking toys from generous viewers. A local radio station has such poignant stories this time of year that I can't even listen to them in the morning because I'll cry all the way to work. They must work year round to fill the station's coffers so they can exceed the Christmas wishes of the kids they help.

I don't know what it is that drives people at Christmas time to share. Is it just that we do it because we've always done it? It is the spirit of the season that moves us to give to others, sometimes to the detriment of our own wants and needs? Or do we give to bribe the universe to look away from our own good fortune by giving to those whose lives are not as blessed?

Whatever the reason, I'm glad that it happens. Whether it's change in a bucket or canned goods for a food bank, those of us who can help should. God bless us, every one!

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