Let’s Fill Our Holidays with the Gift of Charity
I have been struggling lately with the commotion of Christmas consumerism. It had been a lean year with car troubles and unexpected life challenges that has left me in the less than “Gift giving” mood. I was in church today and there were two things that stuck out to me. One was a fun surprise, and the other was a very touching story.
My husband has been away for work and the last few weekends I have decided to sit near and an elderly couple in the back of the pews. Last Sunday I forgot to brush my teeth and asked the elderly man if he had any gum. (I assumed he did since he was chewing a piece.) The man, unfortunately, had just run out. I thanked him and then tracked down a piece of gum through unorthodox means (I texted a 15-year-old girl I know from the Young Women Class I teach, then proceeded to nonchalantly cross the large sacrament room to obtain the piece of gum).
Today I again sat with the elderly couple. I thought nothing of last weeks conversation, but I fell into a nice surprise. I felt a warm touch on my arm. It was the man. He then leaned into me and slipped this into my hand and said, real low, “meeee tooo.”
I sat chewing my gum, half-sang a Christmas song that I didn’t know all the words too, and listened to a few talks.
There was a talk specific talk that struck my heart today. A woman from our congregation was talking about the spirit of Christmas and the gift of charity towards our fellow men. She noted that she would wave every day to her neighbor and he would never wave back. She concluded that her neighbor was just a grouchy old man like the neighborhood gossip suggested. One day, the elderly gentlemen walked outside. He lost his balance, slipped, and fell. She rushed to help him. She then found out that the guy was legally blind.
After she helped him he told her,
“I know I shouldn’t go outside in my condition but I get so lonely that sometimes I just want to feel the sun on my face.”
They two became friends and the 5 months later the man passed away from the natural progression of old age.
She then let us know that if she hadn’t judged the man, she would have had an additional 3 months with him.
That got me thinking. I have been so worried that I will not be able to give everyone gifts. This year, however, I want to extend the greatest gift of all, my love for one another. I may not be rich, but I am full of love. I love my family and I love my friends. I can listen to their stories and share my time and “gum” with them.
What I wish for all of you to take away from this story is that you can change the way you give and receive gifts. Often the smallest gesture or just time spent can mean the world to those around you. Build your love for those around you by remembering the gift of charity and goodwill. Strive to live each day to the fullest. If you fall, get back up and simply try again.