A Christmas Story
‘Tis the season. These three words are capable of evoking an expansive range of emotions, experiences, and expectations. ’Tis the season is wrapped up in the past and the present. ‘Tis the season is defined culturally, religiously, spiritually, geographically, and demographically. ‘Tis the season is symbolic and iconic. ‘Tis the season of giving. Yet the spirit of giving has been subverted by the spectre of shopping. ‘Tis the season of giving thanks to the miracle of life, has become the season of giving thanks for stuff.
There’s no question that the message of giving has been subverted at this time of year. The symbols, the decorations, the elevator muzak, the advertising, the lists of best gifts, toys or gadgets for him, her, and the kids impose on us earlier and everywhere. The message isn’t about giving; it’s about shopping, buying, wrapping and receiving. The Christmas season for all of the good cheer that seemingly abounds, also highlights the growing chasm between those with, and those without. In spite of the soul crushing consumerism, there are always reminders of the spirit of Christmas. The ingrained and endearing seasonal stories telling of the epiphany moments shared by Scrooge and the Grinch still resonate. The spirit and meaning of Christmas definitely exists. It’s that we have to work harder to find it; we often have to dig through the “back pages” to find the truly good stories of the day.
While the giving spirit might grip us, sometimes believing that we’re making a difference isn’t as easy. Being caught up in the holiday hustle and bustle often means dropping a little loose change in a box here, or bucket there without really knowing what it means. Does a fleeting moment of generosity really have an impact? How much meaning does a random act of generosity and giving create? Giving without having a connection or purpose has a hollow ring to it. Scrooge’s epiphany led to connection with Timmy the person, while the Grinch connected with Whoville, a whole community. Giving can be easy, good, and meaningful. Thanks to FundRazr and power of crowdfunding it’s also never been easier to feel a connection and fund a worthy cause using Facebook and Twitter.
Can you imagine how the Christmas spirit feels to these orphans in Ecuador with no money for dinner or presents? Fortunately, the community stepped up and raised $1100 in just 2 days!
How about the people on the Micronesian atoll of Kapingamarangi south of Guam? Imagine in 1951 when the aircrew of a WB-29 aircraft of the 54th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron on a routine flight saw the islanders waving to them. Now imagine what those people thought when the crew quickly gathered some items they had on the plane, placed them in a container with a parachute attached and dropped the cargo as they circled again. While not exactly a sleigh, and sure not reindeer powered, it still must have felt like Old Man Christmas paying a visit. Operation Christmas Drop is still a tradition. With contributions from around the world, and the hard work of both civilian and military volunteers they help the residents in the most remote parts of the Marianas island chain. Each box dropped from a C-130 aircraft weighs nearly 400 pounds and contains items such as fishing nets, construction materials, powdered milk, canned goods, rice, coolers, clothing, shoes, toys and school supplies. That’s called an impact; that’s making a real difference.
While giving can connect you to a community that’s worlds away, FundRazr is also helping connect you to people who are part of your community. In fact the Julien House Society is make a significant difference in women’s lives by supporting the Westminster House Recovery Centre for Women. The path to recovery is not easy, and the Christmas season often doesn’t make it any easier. The Julien House Society is helping women regain their health, self-esteem, and a clear path back to making a healthy contribution to their families and community. The spirit of giving can help make Christmas a very meaningful occasion for these women.
Its great seeing that technology is transforming holiday giving and gifting, making it simpler, more secure, more accountable, more connected, and more social. It’s also great seeing the FundRazr team helping to put the giving spirit into Christmas. However, these two stories are really a microcosm of the massive issue we face; the issue of so many people needing the help and generosity of others. Ask yourself, ask your family, ask your friends, and ask your workplace how you can keep connected with the spirit of giving all year round. Generosity can be the gift that keeps endearing.
A big thank you to everyone who has contributed to the true spirit of Christmas Present.