'Tis the season to shop, buy, decorate, feast and enjoy company with friends and family.
...but for those that have less, 'tis the season for colder weather, scarce food, and hard living.
Christmas always leaves me feeling a little hollow, because it feels like it's all about presents and shopping and gorging and excess. I feel for the needy this time of year, because I have so much. And the point of this holiday season is to buy more and get more. 'Tis the season, for me, to help others in need. To help pick up those who have been knocked down, and to make the season more meaningful.
When I saw this story pop up on my newsfeed, a tear came to my eye:
When a Mormon Bishop dresses up like a homeless man and panhandles in front of his ward, it's an eye-opening experience for all. It's very easy to ignore people in need. When they find out they shunned someone THEY KNEW, everything changed...
This lesson, and the reaction from the churchgoers, is a much-needed one. I'm not saying to give everything you have for the needy, or you're a horrible person unless you donate your time at a local soup kitchen, but think about what you have.
Salvation Army and those annoying bell-ringers, but to your local community. Give to your local food bank. The animal shelter. Head Start programs.
Something local, something small. A place that will make a difference. I prefer donating food and money to my local food bank. It stays within the community, they have small overhead costs (unlike the salvation army, where a HUGE CHUNK of your donation goes to administrative costs and salaries) and it makes a noticeable difference to those in need.
As much as I rail on the Mormon church, this was a well-taught lesson, and one we all need to reflect on.
'Tis the season. Do what you can.