Brenda has a wonderful post today about Christmas choices. Her posts are always well worth the visit as they nudge us to consider our lives in a more meaningful manner. And, sometimes, she is just, well, to darn close for comfort, at least for me! Today she focuses on how to make the holidays more meaningful and purposeful. And as she often does, she has nudged me right into considering how over-the-top these holidays have become.
One of the things that has always troubled me is how many folks are generous to overseas charities, but don't support those in their own communities. I live in a very rural part of NC; we have more than 12% unemployment and, at one time, we had more than 3000 of our 9000 residents out of work when our two factories closed to go off shore. The impact is still devasting -- homes were lost, families moved off farms that had been original land grants, business closed, and life changed forever. We have to rely on each other in times of trial and need.
Look around you. Really look. Who needs a loving hand in your neighborhood? Our volunteer fire department selects families whom we know are out of work or in need and leaves a bag of groceries (Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, plus a few goodies for the children), unseen, in the person's car. Our churches donate to school children by sending home "back packs" of food for the weekend if they know a family is in tough times. A local community college has a clothing closet for graduates so that they are interview ready in an appropriate outfit. Another community college off-site campus has a food closet for students. Sandy created lap quilts for her local nursing home for this year's challenge. The fine gals at Mennonite Girls Can Cook support a number of charities; one of my favorites is their livestock program. Who can't love a charity that gives goats and chickens!?
Won't you take a few minutes this week as you consider your blessings and think of how you might bless someone? It doesn't take much; just time and willingness to give of yourself. While writing a check is a fine thing, giving of yourself blesses you and the reciever even more. No matter how little or much you have, you can share -- giving a smile, sharing a kind word, opening a door, helping a mother load her groceries, saying "Good Morning", or thanking a veteran for their service. May you be richly blessed as you bless others!