What are your Christmas gifts?

27 12 2009

A good friend asked me this week if I celebrate Christmas.  My knee-jerk response was ‘I don’t know.’  As a non-Christian, I enjoy the festive season as much as the next person.  Carolling, feasting, attending Christmas mass (I attended Catholic school and learned many hymns!), exchanging presents…been there, still doing that.  I mean, what’s not to like about yummy food, receiving gifts and admiring twinkling lights?

Upon reflection, though, I DO celebrate Christmas.  Every day of the year.

Not the eggnog, yuletide carols or snowball fights.  Not watching Christmas specials or ripping open yet another present from a Secret Santa colleague at the annual office party.

What I strive to celebrate is the gift of extending good cheer to a fellow human being.  What I love, more than anything about Christmas, is how people remember to care for the less able and fortunate in our midst.

The Salvation Army donation pails.  The massively overflowing bins of presents for needy children.  The sudden surge of volunteers at soup kitchens.  These efforts are noble, touching and richly rewarding.

So, as we march through the remaining days of Christmas, what gifts will you share with friends and strangers in the coming year?  How might you change the way you give of yourself in 2010?  And in what intangible, ongoing ways will you make a difference to a fellow human being?

Have a merry, joy-filled Christmas season.