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Sun., Dec. 28
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Giving shouldn’t end with Christmas

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I’m always struck by how generous people are to charitable causes this time of year.

It kind of makes me wonder why people aren’t this charitable all year long. Maybe it’s a sense of guilt for not doing more to help the less fortunate the rest of the year. Maybe we remember how sad we felt for Tiny Tim and his poor family in any of a million versions of A Christmas Carol we have seen, and we don’t want to be associated with Ebenezer Scrooge. Maybe it’s to atone for past sins. Maybe it’s just that the spirit of Christmas fosters good will toward your fellow man.

Whatever the reason, we give a little more around Christmas.

You might have recently donated some extra food or cash to your local food pantry. You might have donated a toy for a child in need. You might have dug into your pocket for some spare change for a Salvation Army bell ringer or a donation jar. These could be things you wouldn’t normally do at other times throughout the year, but there’s something about Christmas that compels you to give.

All this Christmastime giving is wonderful. But you might not realize that it’s after Christmas that the real need starts. The people who were needy before Christmas are still needy afterward, and the donations charitable organizations get with some kind of regularity before Christmas promptly dry up on Dec. 26. Meanwhile, the Cratchit family still can’t afford a new crutch for Tiny Tim.

Our charitable organizations – food pantries, neighborhood centers, the Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul, and dozens of others - do an amazing job helping the less fortunate. The people who operate these places, regularly donate time, money and materials to them and support them in other ways are a special breed.

They give of themselves all year long, not out of a sense of guilt, but out of the goodness of their hearts. They set a shining example for all of us to follow.

Please remember after all the presents are long unwrapped, your Christmas meal an indigestion memory and the novelty of the bright, shiny new toy you got is gone, there are people in your community who still need you. Don’t forget about them after your holiday giving is done.

The spirit of giving isn’t something that should just pop up around Christmas. It needs to be kept alive and well all year long.

I wish you all a very merry Christmas. May the spirit of giving be alive and well in your hearts through this holiday and beyond.

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