Late November and December are the months in which people’s hearts open to giving what they have to people who are in need. This behavior, is ushered in by anticipation for family, food, jolly Christmas music, and hot chocolate. What is it about this time of year that softens people’s hearts? I argue that the presence of undeniable hope in the holiday season transcends any lingering feelings of loneliness or fear.
I want to take you back to Thanksgiving and Christmas when you were seven or eight. Those were the best weeks imaginable, because the magic and the mystery were so much more potent and sweet. Thanksgiving was the catalyst for gratitude and cheer that gave way for the jingle bells and lights of December to enter the scene. Christmas is still, hands down, the best time of the year, most of all because of the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. But now that we college students have entered into the world of adulthood, there are new ways we can enjoy the holiday season and help others do the same.
Just as we have observed our parents and those around us open their homes, offer their finances and give their time to deserving individuals and causes, we are also able to do the same in small but influential ways. One being Operation Christmas Child, which has been advertised on campus. This is an organization that sends shoe boxes young girls and boys in third world countries around the world. Their mission is to spread the Gospel message by acting out Christ’s generosity for those in need. By putting together a box with things as simple as shoes, socks and a small toy, these children are able to receive a transformative gift that comes with the opportunity to hear about God’s love and his plan for their lives.
Another is kiva.org, in which you sign up to provide someone a microloan for their upstarting business, school tuition, etc., and you are able to track their progress using the money you gave. You can also see how and when they begin to pay you back as their ventures are successful. Kiva only asks $25 of those interested in investing. The exciting part about this idea is that when you have been fully repaid by one person, you can turn around and invest that $25 into someone else’s future.
More importantly than the concept of donation is stopping to recognize that our busyness should not be an excuse to remain separate from people. Instead it should cause us to slow down and appreciate the moments that are free from obligation and full of joy.
As human beings, we give time to what we value. Sometimes what we value can become skewed by the world’s expectations. Yet, during this advent season, we should value hope, faith, joy and peace. Since we have been given these good and perfect gifts, we should extend them toward others in the best way possible. Be encouraged as this holiday season is upon us, and do not let it pass you by without feeling thankful for the memories that have stirred in you a love of Christmas and the chance you have to partake in the many wonderful possibilities to help those around you.