As the holiday season approaches, we all see the Christmas trees placed right beside the Thanksgiving display in the stores. It happens every year; sometimes you even see wreaths and tinsel appearing next to the ghoul and goblin costumes for Halloween. Another common appearance around the holidays, however, can be found outside those same stores. Most of us hear the bells of the Salvation Army volunteers and a lot of us walk right on by. These people stand out in all kinds of weather—snow, wind, rain, hail—just to raise money to help an organization that helps people.
Most Christmases when I am home, I enjoy spending time with my family, just like anyone else. Of course, I love the shopping, the snow, and all the decorations. But, like the volunteers for the Salvation Army, my family feels an obligation to take care of others. Usually, we go with my church to help at our local food pantry. We pack hundreds of boxes full of goodies—food, drinks, and holiday treats—to distribute throughout our community. This food pantry operates all year long, and has volunteers, like myself, working constantly to aid those in need around our area. I always leave there knowing I have done work that will benefit others, allowing them to enjoy their holiday season a little more.
On Christmas Day, my family and I enjoy opening a few presents in the morning and going to my grandmother’s house to eat breakfast. From there, we go to another church in our town where we all help to serve a community Christmas dinner. The church opens up to the public and allows anyone and everyone to come in and enjoy the company and the food. I first help set up the tables and then take my station behind the buffet. While serving the public a delicious meal, I see the grateful smiles on their faces. These people have very little, so they appreciate, and deserve, a kind word and a hot meal. After I’ve served everyone, I grab a plate of my own, and join in communion and conversation with those same people.
Everyone has their own story. While serving others, I’ve been educated far beyond what any book could ever teach me. I have been blessed with a comfortable home, all the food I need, and many other gifts I could certainly live without. I lead a wonderful life with a great family, wonderful friends, and an abundance of love all around me. Most of us enjoy these same amenities. However, there are people, our neighbors, who are not as fortunate. It shouldn’t matter how they fell into that situation; I believe we still need to help them. If one has the courage to ask for assistance, it should be provided. This holiday season, I will enjoy time with my family, but I will again serve others and receive a gift that will be beneficial forever.
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