As we approach Christmas, you only need to go to the nearest mall to witness the frenzied activity in preparation. People scurry around trying to find the perfect gifts for their loved ones and co-workers at the lowest prices. While gift-giving indeed is an act of love, many postulate that we have become lost in commercialism and materialism.
If we look deeper, there is another Christmas happening as well: the spread of goodwill. There are food drives and toy drives. Groups arrange to volunteer at the local soup kitchen. People are aware of the needy like at no other time of the year. Yet, not everyone steps up to offer a helping hand.
In past years, one thing I have truly enjoyed is finding a family struggling financially and arranging to have a pile of gifts left in the very early morning hours at their doorstep. While I never get the opportunity to view their response, I often wonder if they ever think a jolly old man in a red suit left them the surprise. I don’t say this to brag but to share that there are many ways we can serve others during this time of the year. And in fact, if we all did something to show our care for others who may not have anyone, wouldn’t that make Santa very real?
As parents, we love to make jolly old St. Nicholas real for our kids. But what about parents who want to but can’t? How nice it would be if someone would help them because all kids deserve the best. We may not be able to fly a sleigh all over the globe and help those in need, but if we each picked one family or one cause to aid this year, we could achieve the same result.
Some kids may not need toys but rather food to just stay alive. It is a good time of the year to remember they need to eat and help feed them. Other kids may be suffering from terrible diseases and can’t afford medical care. Let’s help make them better! They want to be happy at Christmas too. One person cannot change all the social injustices that exist in the world, but if we each picked a cause and chipped in, we can make the world stand still.
Santa may not be a reindeer whisperer or an expert sleigh driver, but his spirit is indeed very real. His spirit is one of kindness and giving without expecting anything in return. His generosity reaches around the world and excludes no one; nor should we. He believes in goodness and knows we are all capable of it. Why else does he keep a list? And he gives second chances because he checks that list twice to make sure you are on it. Wouldn’t the world be a much better place if we judged people by the same standard and gave them another chance when they were “naughty”?
While I don’t expect a red-suited man sliding down my chimney on Christmas Eve with a bag full of toys, I know that he is very real. He is inside all of us, and if we all want him to be real, we must release his spirit from our hearts. I believe we are all capable of doing this. And that is why I will always believe in Santa Claus.
Linda Girgis is a family physician who blogs at Dr. Linda.
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