Giving Back During the Holiday
I am always the first person to get up at our house on Christmas morning. And if the truth be told, I am the first to get up most any other day too. Its not intentional, but I embrace it. There is a silence about the morning that is different from the late night silence. It is a silence that precedes a new day, with all of the possibilities that each new day brings. But Christmas Day is different.
Every family has its Christmas traditions, and we have ours too. But there is a funny thing about traditions. If you do the same thing each year, with the same people, the same food, etc. The only thing that differentiates this Christmas from any other are the photographs. We try to mix it up a bit each year, and celebrate as much about what is new as the traditions of old.
Up until a few years ago, we were big into giving gifts to everyone – business associates, neighbors, every kid that Alexandra knows, all of our friends – busy shipping everything all over the world…..It was stressful, and perhaps a bit insane. Like everyone, I appreciate the cards and gifts that we receive, but have long wondered if that effort is not spreading abundance rather than gratitude.
Homelessness is a big problem
I guess that it is a combination of reasonable weather and high housing costs that we have such a widespread homeless problem here on the central coast. The problem is compounded by drug epidemic, underfunded shelters, and other social services. There is another group of people that can afford housing but little more. There are many people that could use help to find a little joy at Christmas.
If you look around your community, you can find organizations that do a lot of good for people who are outside, or living day to day. There are families who cannot afford to buy even the most basic gifts of clothing for their children. Others may be living in their cars, or worse yet – on the street. These organizations provide relief to those people. You notice that I do not mention the social services provided by tax dollars - ask any homeless person and they will tell you that government is a nightmare and ineffective. It would be interesting to learn how many government employees (and associated employee costs) there are to every homeless person.
Support Private Non Profits
We help women and children escaping violence. They often run out the front door with little more than the clothes on their back – no money, no home, only seeking to get away from the abuse. These people need help. Thank you CASA for all that you do..
We try to help veterans who return from service with little capacity to manage life after the theatre. War leaves scars that never heal, and it is our obligation to make an effort to safeguard those who have given their lives to safeguard us. I would greatly prefer that we avoid all armed conflicts, but be that as it is, my heart goes out to those who have served. A great charity is Operation Surf. They teach our heroes who have lost hope, and often limbs, how to surf. (Don't Google Operation Surf - their website was hacked - I called them and we will be fixing it for them.....damn hackers!).
We try to help the poorest families by making their Christmas – a Christmas tree, wrapped gifts for everything on their Christmas list, and a Christmas dinner with all the fixings.
This year, we learned that in many South American countries, farm workers sleep on the ground, sheltered by plastic huts with no door and no plumbing. We bought one such family a home – only a few hundred square feet – check out https://newstorycharity.org to understand how so little can go so far. - Here is a link to the campaign https://impact.newstorycharity.org/collections/bhgre-funds-a-community
I would like to think that Christ, over 2000 years ago, set an everlasting example that inspires us all, regardless of any religion, to help those less fortunate. It is that humanity that defines us.