Commentary – Extend the spirit for Christmas all year through

Richard Froese
With just six weeks to Christmas, many people are already thinking about the season to give.

Children are busy as they research the latest sources to make their Christmas wish list and start to prepare for the school or church concerts.
Parents are checking their budget to see what they can give their children and planning for family gatherings.

Others are setting times to celebrate with their church, business, or community group. As the economy remains sluggish in the region and Alberta, people in need will especially be grateful this Christmas for the love and support from others.

For those with sufficient funds and resources, and some to spare, the Christmas season is a good time to spread a little of that love and generosity to the less fortunate. While many families and community groups will have times to sit down for full-course with turkey or ham, some families will go without and have a little.

Especially when most dinners have plenty of leftovers, invite those in need and those who will spend Christmas alone, like single people. That’s the true spirit of Christmas and the reason for giving.

Despite all the busyness and hustle and bustle, remember to keep the real focus of Christmas.

Jesus is the real reason for the season. Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas is about others; giving to other people with love, not out of obligation, or to see who can spend the most money and buy the most gifts for the most people.

One of the greatest gifts people can give is food, something that many people cut when their dollar doesn’t stretch that far during these tough economic times. Food drives for local food banks and Christmas hampers are always a major project and campaign in every community. Big donation boxes are stationed in grocery stores, schools and other prime points in the community to encourage to people to give to those less fortunate.
Traditionally, these Christmas hampers are spearheaded by the food bank, Family and Community Support Services or a social service agency.

To show loving and caring community spirit, many businesses and organizations, schools and churches stage food drives or challenge other groups to meet or beat the volume of food collected. Even during special events and concerts, donation boxes are available for people to donate more food.

Volunteers from a variety of organizations are always eager to help fill and distribute hampers. Recipients of these food hampers are generally grateful when they receive the box of food usually for Christmas dinner and to stock their cupboards for a few days.

Many people think that they will never need to use the food bank or a Christmas hamper at any time. But you never know. Life can be going smooth and suddenly that income could be snuffed out, and you’ll need to get support from others who donate to the food bank or hampers. Many people using food banks this year probably never thought it would happen to them. Other opportunities to give are available. Almost all communities have campaigns where people can buy gifts for children.

Seniors also appreciate the presence of people, especially when they are less mobile and can’t get out, or they have family around to come home.

Extend your love to those around you this Christmas season and may it extend through the whole year.

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