Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Make that holiday spirit last all year

The holiday season is far too brief. I don’t say this out of gluttonous desire for more parties, gifts, or days off. I say this because humanity as a whole is so refreshing in December. Throughout the month most people are jovial, good-natured, and – best of all – giving. This is the one month out of the year when everyone goes out of their way to make life better for other people. Be it gifts, kindly cards, family get-togethers, or donations to community organizations, people give of themselves and find great delight in doing so.

This selflessness shows that there is hope for a society that is routinely blasted for showing signs of decay. Modern culture is constantly reviled for the lessening of family values, the dumbing-down of character, and the decreased emphasis on the well-being of others. Were these to be fully accurate we would never catch this pleasant holiday glimpse that proves that people are still essentially good.

But, alas, this is a glimpse nonetheless. Why should humanity prove the ill-toned stereotypes wrong only during the holidays? Why can’t we be this good during the rest of the year?

As many rediscover at Christmas time, it feels great to give and make people happy. In a perfect world it would be hoped that people would want to replicate this "high" throughout the year and everyday of their lives. That, in its most basic essence, is the reason for the season. We are celebrating the birth of someone who throughout his life spread teachings of selflessness and love for your fellow man. So intent was his cause that he ultimately gave the most sacred gift of all…his very life.

With a new year coming up people should reinvent themselves and dedicate their lives to a similar path, a path that leads to good deeds not only during the holidays, but day in and day out.

As Christian as the holidays may be at their core, this path of righteousness that should be the outcome of the celebration is not necessarily the case. Anyone can and should serve their fellow man. Be you a Jew, Muslim, or Atheist, the betterment of those around you – and therefore yourself – should be paramount. Your life is measured not by what you do for yourself but what you do for others.

The act of giving is not done through money or donations as many believe it is. It can be, but it should never be your most pronounced effort. To fully give of one’s self requires your time, your efforts, and, of all things, your heart.

Make it a point to help others at work, at home, on the streets. Set aside time to volunteer. Join a community organization. Assist a youth group. Help that little old lady across the street. Helping someone with even the most menial of tasks or going out of your way to make one’s day (if not one’s life) brighter is what makes selflessness so personal and so rewarding. There should be joy in giving and joy in watching others receive it.
No doubt you have been experiencing such joys in recent weeks.

It feels good, eh? Now it’s time to make it a lifestyle. These are feelings that you should experience daily. So, make it a point to celebrate the meaning of Christmas as it was intended and live this wonderful holiday mood 24/7/365. It’s easy. It’s rewarding. It’s the right thing to do.

From the 29 December 2014 Lockport Union Sun and Journal

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