Heart of season: giving to others

Posted: Friday, November 29, 2002

Here's hoping everyone had a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving and is rested for the frenzy of the holiday season that begins in earnest today.

The holidays are special because they provide a wonderful opportunity for us to reflect on the people and things that truly mean the most to us. During the holidays, well-trimmed family dinners and spirited Christmas sing-alongs remind us of the warmth and love surrounding us each day.

Unfortunately, the widespread joy that permeates the holiday season does not always spread to the entire community. Though many of us have much to be thankful for, some of us are poor and often go hungry. Some of us are without family or even a place to sleep. Without help, some of us may go without Christmas dinner or presents under the tree this year.

It doesn't have to be.

In keeping with tradition, local charities will become more visible between now until Christmas. You'll see them collecting donations inside supermarkets and read their requests in letters in your mailbox.

Instead of simply tuning these pleas out, think about how much you have to be thankful for this year. Think about how much of what you have to be thankful for is due to the fact that you live in a community of people who work together and care for one another. Then remember that a community consists of all its individual members -- even those who are down on their luck -- and give as much as you can to those who are less fortunate.

Now, don't be a bit ashamed to dive headlong into the frenzy of shopping, parties and activity that comes along with the season.

But as you go about the task of finding just the right gifts for loved ones, take some time to think about giving to charity. It's a simple thing to donate a bit of your time or money, but it could mean one more person in the community will have something to smile about during the holidays.

And every person who has reason to rejoice this season is one more reason for all of us to be thankful.

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