♫It’s the Hap, Happiest Time of the Year♫
By Jim Kuiken
Well, it should / could be… What is it about the holiday season (Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve) that is the Reason for the Season?
First, let me stop here and wish you all a Merry Christmas! That may not be “P.C.”, so if it troubles (or pleases) you for me to say that, please read last year’s post – “Merry What?”
However, if you’re one of the folks that are going to insist on being “offended” by that without first reading last year’s post, you can skip it and read “That’s Offensive” – basically, Tango Sierra.
Back to the Reason for the Season. Lots of folks will have lots of different ideas on that, but for me it boils down to a very simple thing. We have Thanksgiving to ‘give thanks’; and among many different reasons, Christmas (or whatever you celebrate – going back to “Merry What?”) to celebrate good will towards others, family, and loved ones; and New Year’s Eve, where we look to the past and more importantly, to the future and to what the new year holds for us (or what we can make of it).
Simply put, for me it’s about thanking and giving. For young kids (and unfortunately, for some older folks) it’s about what they get. For me, and for a lot of other folks, it’s about what you give – who you can help or make happy. I get much more pleasure out of giving to someone and seeing the happiness or joy in their face than I do in receiving. Or knowing that something I did or gave (including my time) made it easier, better, or happier for someone, even if I don’t know them or they don’t know me. It’s the giving that brings joy to my heart.
As you all know, many of my friends have dedicated their lives to service, and a lot of them are involved in or run non-profits dedicated to serving, helping, and giving to others, but I’d like to point out just a couple of them as examples of what brings joy to this season…and the rest of the year.
A good friend, Carol, who owns and runs the Vienna Pet Spaw (the only place I will take Freedom for his baths, etc., because she has a special place in her heart for Service Dogs and Veterans) was unable to get us in last Saturday morning, because she and her family went out to Arlington National Cemetery to participate in Wreaths Across America, laying Christmas wreaths at the headstones of those who served our country and are buried there in Arlington. It was a bitterly cold day, with freezing rain and some sleet, and they still went out there, honoring the fallen. As some of you may remember, she and her family laid her own brother to rest there just last year - US Air Force Senior Master Sergeant Mark Rayment, joining some of her other family members there.
Another good friend and award winning Author, Clint Goodwin, like me, loves to hunt and bring food home for his family. Besides having spent (and risked) his life serving this country, he uses his love of hunting to help feed others, through Hunters for the Hungry, who through generous donations from hunters like Clint, have served over 22 million meals to those in need since 1991. Besides donating a large portion of his harvest each year, he also participates in and supports the organization, to make sure those who need the help and the food are take care of.
I literally have hundreds of friends and colleagues like this, who give of themselves to help others, directly or through organizations, to help, feed, clothe, and make the lives of others safer, more secure and just plain better.
Recently, a couple of friends and I were talking, and even came up with an idea on how to make it easier for all military, veterans, first responders and all their families to find any help, support and assistance they may need in a simple, quick way – and built our own non-profit around that concept, which I’m happy to say is already formed, and should be coming online shortly after the first of the year. It doesn’t compete with any of the ones already out there, in fact, it even makes it easier to find and use them! If you’d like to find out more about that or would like to see how you can help, just drop me a line here.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to give. Drop a new toy in a Toys for Tots barrel, give some canned or dry goods to any number of organizations that feed the hungry, volunteer to help out any organization or group of your choice, or find something or someone you care about that can benefit from you just giving of yourself.
Be thankful for what you have (not just ‘stuff’), be generous and giving, and share some joy – maybe even find some Peace in this holiday season, and the new year.
Merry Christmas, and I hope you have (and help others have) a Happy New Year!