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									A Different Kind of Christmas

Each year as Christmas season begins to go into full gear, we hear the
complaint that Christmas has become commercialized and we have forgotten
“The true meaning of Christmas.” When we make that observation, it must
come from a nostalgic time, perhaps when we were children, and we
remember Christmas being about the sacrifice of the Christ child and that
the gifts we give reflect the gift of life that God has brought to us.

Even if our Christmas time is not full of religious imagery, the stories
and carols and traditions of the Christmas season point to values that
are more about giving to each other out of the heart and being together
as family more than the economic side of the season and the hustle and
bustle that can weary the soul more than bless it.

That is why this year it might be a time to think about trying a
different kind of Christmas. If you feel that your family has gotten too
bogged down in the commercial aspect of the holiday, maybe there is way
to remind each other that Christmas is about giving between people and
sharing with others in order to allow there to be “peace and good will
among men”.

One way to bring the spirit of the season back is to reintroduce your
family to the idea of doing something for someone less fortunate in a
very dynamic and meaningful way. Oh sure, we like to give a few coins to
the Santa on the corner collecting for the Salvation Army or buy a toy
for the tree at the mall that will eventually be given to a poor child.
But you and your family do not get to enjoy the thrill of actually giving
to someone less fortunate and enjoying the fellowship, the gratitude and
the since of bonding that kind of giving, when done face to face, can

To get to that “next level” of making giving to others meaningful,
nothing can beat a good family community service project at the holidays
to bring home the true meaning of the season to everybody in the family.
There are dozens of causes around the holidays that are always in need of
lots of help that you can volunteer your family to be involved with
during the Christmas season. If you feel that your family might need to
starter project before actually going and working with the less
fortunate, you can help with the collection of goods and the organization
of what is given in preparation for delivery.

Many civic organizations collect mountains of toys, clothing and canned
goods that will be split up into packages to be delivered to thousands of
families in need of such things during the holidays. You can find such
an organization and make an appointment to meet at their warehouse and
help sort out the goods that have come in and package them up for
delivery. Its hard work but as you and your family work to lovingly
prepare these presents for others, it is so much more meaningful and in
touch with the spirit of the season. Everybody will remember that
Christmas fro a long time to come.

But to really make the joy of Christmas become the joy of reaching out to
others, serving Christmas dinner to the homeless or to those who are down
and out will be an experience that will change the way your children view
Christmas forever. You don’t have to necessarily open your home to
strangers to show hospitality to others. It is understandable that
having people you don’t know around your table at home could be a little
frightening and more than you are ready to take on.

But if you can include with your Christmas eve or Christmas day
festivities that after the gifts are opened and big Christmas meal is
done, everybody gets in the cars and goes to the shelter to share their
love and to serve dinner to others the way they have to generously
received, that will go a long way toward capturing the sprit of the
holiday for those you are helping and for your family as well. For all
involved, it will truly be a different kind of Christmas.


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