Merry Christmas Eve! If you’re like many Americans today, you’re probably out buying last minute gifts, hurriedly wrapping the last of the gifts or planning your Christmas Day.
Tomorrow marks the middle holiday event that leads us closer to a new year.

Thanksgiving has come and gone and saw us stuffing ourselves with food and emptying our pockets on all the great sales. Christmas is a time to be with family, show our love by giving gifts and feel others’ love by receiving gifts. New Year’s is a day of celebration as we say out with the old and in with the new and better.

Some of us probably took some time to give to those less fortunate than us. Maybe you served at a soup kitchen thanksgiving morning before gorging in your own kitchen. Christmas is a wonderful time to give toys to kids who don’t have any. I mean, what better way to clear out the toy bins for all those Christmas presents we’re about to give and receive (kid and adult toys)? With the new year comes taxes so end of the year giving to charities provides a meaningful way to get rid of some money to receive a tax break.

I interrupt my slightly sarcastic words to point out a few things:
1. I know many people who really do have good hearts as they do all the above mentioned things
2. I realize there are other holidays during this time of year. Forgive me for not including them. I don’t celebrate them and thus have no background to include them in my holiday examples.
3. Personally, my family celebrates Christmas because it’s Jesus’ birthday. Take away the family, the gifts, the merriment and we still have reason to celebrate-our Lord and Savior came to earth so we would not have to spend eternity without him and we rejoice in that on Christmas Day.

So in a month and a half time (end of November through January 1) there is a ton of giving going on in our country. I won’t ask anyone to validate why they are giving or who they give to.

My challenge this Christmas season is to think about the remaining 10 1/2 months of the year. What would happen if once a quarter (that’s once every 3 months for those of you who, like me, go brain dead at times like this. It’s like my brain just stops ticking and all I can do is stare into space as I try to come with something, anything to say) each one of us gave to someone in need simply because….well, just to do a nice thing?

The homeless woman on the corner? Give her a couple of those blueberry muffins you just bought for breakfast. Maybe she’s homeless and hungry, maybe she’s just trying to pull one over on you, but I bet you’ll make her smile. Have a heart for kids? Find a local foster care family or organization and donate some of your kids’ books or toys-not because you’re getting new ones, but just because you can. Miss your grandparents? Make some Valentine cards and head on down to a nursing home to pass them out. Got those taxes back? Maybe you could take a small percentage, buy some groceries and drop it off at a food pantry. Find some coupons and weekly deals in diapers and donate a pack to the pregnancy center. Maybe even take one Saturday morning, load up the family and donate your time to a homeless shelter.

I don’t know how many people live in America and honestly, my kids are napping right now so I’m racing against time to actually start and finish this thing in one sitting, but suffice to say, it’s a lot. Imagine if even one quarter of us took this Christmas challenge and carried it out. Just one time of giving every 3 months. Imagine how many people we could take care of? How many people we could help? How many smiles we could deliver?

Side note-I did it. I’m done typing and the kids are still sleeping. It’s a Christmas miracle.

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