Charity and the Spirit of the Holiday

Posted Category: Mayor's Posts.

Many years ago, I became familiar with a young woman who taught me a humbling lesson on charity and the true spirit of Christmas. Her innocent message now echoes in my heart as each new holiday season approaches. I feel it important to share what I learned and hope that it will work to the benefit of someone in our community. If nothing more, it encourages me to focus on that which is truly important.

Cindy was a single mother with two small children. I don’t remember if she ever complained about anything. She just seemed to take life as it came and would deal with issues one at a time. In my ignorance, I never considered her financial situation which in retrospect should have been obvious. But she always seemed to make do and I gave it no further thought.

Two weeks before Christmas, she and I had an unforgettable conversation. I asked her if she was getting ready for the “big day.” She looked at me with a half grin and said that she hoped everything would work out. Being curious, I pressed her for a better response. At that point, Cindy lost eye contact with me, looked down and confessed to me her recent shopping experience. She had entered a store with five dollars to buy one present each for her two children. She knew it would be difficult, but she was hoping to find something, anything that would do. She finally accepted the fact that it was an impossible task and left the store. As she walked through the exit doors, she was met by the Salvation Army bell ringer. She admitted to me that she placed that five dollars in the red bucket knowing that it wasn’t enough to help her, but it could help someone else.

That conversation has been etched in my memory. It was deeply personal and every time I think about it, I feel humanly inadequate.

The Holidays are approaching, and we have a wonderful gift—time. Time is ours to use as we see fit. We can use it to do something wonderful or we can simply waste it away in the vitriolic atmosphere of social media. Please join me this year and do something extraordinary. Help someone, anyone, in anyway that will build them up. In order to enjoy the true “Spirit of Christmas” we must work for it by being kind and honestly considerate.

Cindy and her family had a good Christmas. Her “leap of faith” was answered with gratitude and I learned that faith does indeed, precede miracles. I also learned how important it is to pay better attention to everyone around us.

May you and your family have a wonderful and charitable holiday season.

 

-Mark Johnson


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