Once a year for one month, it's in the air. You can't hold it or touch it. You can't quite put your finger on it. But it's definitely there. Christmas Spirit. Isn't it wonderful? Don't you just love Christmas spirit? I think it is the reason why I look forward to this time of year so much. People are simply friendlier. They are kinder. They smile more. They are quicker to lend a hand or help another person out.
But why is that? What is it about the holidays that has the ability to transform people? Are we trying to impress someone? Or prove something? Is it guilt? Do we feel bad for being a bit self-centered the other 11 months of the year? Maybe the idea of having to please a big jolly guy with a white beard in the North Pole in order to receive gifts has stuck with us since childhood.
Yesterday morning I was serving breakfast at the Blanchet House like I do every Tuesday morning. A group of women was there to help serve as well. We had more volunteers than usual, almost more than we needed. I thought about leaving so that there weren't "too many cooks in the kitchen", but decided to stay. Blanchet is a much needed weekly experience for me. Almost like a ritual. Almost like my church. I chatted with the group of women and asked if it was their first time at Blanchet. It was. I asked them what brought them here. They said they are looking for different ways to serve during the month of December. It must be their way of spreading Christmas Spirit. They helped serve nearly 300 meals to the less fortunate in our community that morning. And they did it with a smile on their face. Their service was much appreciated and I'm sure they spread Christmas Spirit to many people who came in for a hot meal.
Afterwards, I was eating breakfast with one of the Blanchet residents, Vic, and he commented on how many people want to help serve around Thanksgiving and Christmas. He said that one guy asked if he and his family could help out by serving meals on Thanksgiving or Christmas day. And this was Vic's response: "If you really want to help out, pick a Tuesday in March to come serve. That's when we really need people."
His response caught me off guard a little bit. But how honest and true it is! As wonderful as it is to consciously make an effort to help others out during the holiday season, there are endless needs surrounding us throughout the year. What if we really could spread the Christmas Spirit year around?! What if the love, joy and cheerfulness of the holidays continued 365 days a year?
So I encourage you to find ways to help others out during this holiday season. Volunteer at a local soup kitchen; connect with a child or family that could use a little support; donate your time or money to an organization that is making a difference. But more so, I encourage you to continue doing that into the new year, and all the way through next Christmas! Don't leave the Christmas Spirit behind once December is over. Approach every day with the same generosity and kindness we all have during the joyful holiday season.