This is the time of year when there are all the feel good stories and anecdotes about Christmas past and present. It is wonderful and I welcome the stories but I can't help wondering- how come there aren't more of these type of stories the rest of the year? Why aren't we on the look out for opportunities to help one another once the season of comfort and joy are over? Why do we share good cheer in December but come January we spread misery?
I heard of a heartwarming tale that has taken place in Boston every Christmas for the last twenty-seven years. In 1988 one family realized how much they received at Christmas and thought that the following year they would try to do something about it. So, the following year, two brothers, their employees and clients decided to make a special Christmas memory for the homeless in their community.
This all volunteer organization provides a day in which the hundreds of families who attend will have a celebration, receive a meal and presents. But what was once just an annual event has now expanded. They now have job training and other events during the year. As they say on their website:
"Each year, Christmas in the City brings holiday magic to thousands of Boston-area kids and their families – kids and families who’ve been experiencing the uncertainty of homelessness and the stress of poverty. Our annual party for those living in homeless shelters is a spectacular, go-all-out holiday event that many kids tell us is the best day of their lives. We also “play Santa” to thousands of other children who live in poverty, and provide assistance throughout the year to help families successfully transition from homelessness to independent living." Click here to read more.
Much as it is important to celebrate Christmas and to help others during the holidays, I really like that they have other programming throughout the year. Homelessness and poverty do not recognize calendar holidays and do not take breaks. There are no special days for those who are experiencing this type of troubles.
I also like that this is a 100% volunteer organization. Everyone does their bit and part. And in doing so, a truly amazing event takes place. (check out the pictures- this truly is a spectacular party.) I am sure that there must be great organizers to make this event work. How wonderful that each person brings his or her gift to benefit others. After all, isn't that the true meaning of Christmas: the teenager mother who gave the gift of obedience to be used by God, the wisemen who gave practical gifts to the care of the newborn king, and the God who humbled himself as the small baby in order to give us the greatest gift of eternal life.
What would it look like if we "gave away" our gifts, talents, and resources? Who could we benefit? In all the cases of those who "gave away", they would say that they received so much more.
Are there programs in your city that help those less fortunate? Do they continue throughout the year? If there isn't a specific program, what can you do to either replicate a Christmas in the City type program or design something specific for your city?
What is Christmas like in your city?