Most people give money and their time through the year to causes they consider worthy. Especially as Christmas approaches our thoughts turn more to those in need, people or causes we might be able to support further by donating a little something above and beyond. A number of charities and not-for-profit organizations run their campaigns around this time to raise awareness both for their cause and the need for funds to sustain their operations. Irrespective of the underlying reasons, it truly is wonderful to see an esprit-de-corps generating that wonderful “Christmas spirit” which affects almost all.
There are many charitable people doing wonderful work around the world. Whether helping to provide housing, medical assistance, potable water, education, food, energy solutions, arranging micro-financing or other resources to address diverse local needs around the globe, the energy, enthusiasm and dedication of such volunteers is boundless and their outcomes commendable.
And then there are other acts of kindness. My neighbor two houses down, has been up at the crack of dawn on more than one occasion to brush snow off the cars and shovel our driveway so that I can drive to work without hindrance during the snowy, winter months. He does not allow me to shovel because of my heart condition and has negated my attempts to hire a third party for this purpose. Another neighbor mows our common, small lawn patch in the summer. How does one repay such acts of kindness?
Last December our group of sponsors awaited the first of two families of refugees from Syria whom we had agreed to support. It was a large family of twelve and rental accommodation suited to their needs was difficult to come by. Finally, just as we concluded the Lease Agreement for their housing arrangements we were notified that instead of arriving in February as originally scheduled, they would be in Canada within the week. Putting them up in a hotel for two months was not an option we could afford. Frantically, we looked for alternate arrangements. Then, out of the blue a couple – friends of our sponsoring group leader, called. They were going overseas for a few weeks on vacation and offered their spacious house as a temporary abode. These wonderful souls were willing to let complete strangers, who were unfamiliar with a Canadian home and living style and had never used house appliances, to stay in their sanctum sanctorum! I am not sure if I could have been as generous.
We all do what we can to make this world a better place. For me, it is the baby steps. Holding the door open for people coming through after me. Waving another car ahead of me at the four-way stop, even if it is my turn to proceed. Buying a coffee for the friend who invited me. Paying it forward, if I am able to.
Altruistic intentions aside, we also look forward to enjoying Christmas with family and friends. For me, Christmas music is an integral part of the celebrations. I first started listening to “Western” music in Delhi through two very popular weekly radio shows. These were the “Forces Request” on Monday nights I think and “A Date with You” on Friday evenings. This was my gateway for an introduction to Nat King Cole, Elvis, Sinatra, James Brown, Anka, Dylan, Harry Belafonte, Denver, CCR, Peter Paul and Mary, Neil Diamond, the Beatles and so many others. While many of these legends have performed their versions of Silent Night, the one by Nat King Cole remains a favorite of mine and I share it with you here.
A Merry Christmas to all and Peace on Earth.