Finding the True Meaning of Christmas

On Black Friday I found myself at Target picking up pajamas for the kiddo since that morning he decided to slide across the living room floor on his knees ripping a sizable hole in his last remaining "good pair" of pj's. We are not Black Friday shoppers so when we pulled into the parking lot of the store my son was in awe of how many cars were there. "What's happening mom?" he asked. "It's Black Friday," I replied, bracing myself for the throngs of shoppers.

When we entered the store I knew I would need reinforcements. Thank goodness for Target's Starbucks. The little man ordered a hot chocolate and I ordered a latte and we sat and watched shoppers with carts stacked full of items teetering to and fro as they awaited their turn at checkout. My son wanted to know why everyone was buying so much. "It's the start of the Christmas season," I say, but somehow the words sound hollow as they leave my lips. Don't get me wrong. I love browsing the aisles of Target. I always spend a bit more at the store especially if I go in without a list. but making Christmas exclusively about gift giving alters the true meaning of the holiday...a season of giving.

In an effort to remind my family what the holiday is all about, I signed us up to help Happy Helpers for the Homeless at Our Daily Bread in downtown Baltimore. My family and some members of our church helped distribute bagged breakfasts, canned food, and "Sock it to Me" socks which are a new pair of socks filled with much needed toiletry items. All of the items were collected and assembled by the children at our church. My son regularly helps to contribute and collect items for the needy but on this particular Sunday he was able to see with his own eyes where our contributions go as well as the people who need these items. Besides helping visitors find certain canned food items, we watched a young dad ask for help finding clothes that would fit his infant. I smiled as I saw another parent carefully select a new stuffed animal for their child. When we got into our car at the end of our shift my son said, "I feel happy mom. I feel like I really helped people today." I love when life lessons happen on their own. I want my son to know that it feels good to give, and if you can help another human being on this planet, whether you know them or not, you should because kindness matters.

With school holiday pageants, out of town family coming to visit, work parties, etc, so many of us are stretched so thin but maybe you can hold open the door for someone whose hands are full. Maybe you can purchase an extra can or two of soup for your local soup kitchen while doing your own shopping. If this story has inspired you to help Baltimore's homeless, Happy Helpers for the Homeless could really use your help on Christmas Day. On December 25th from 10am - 3pm they will be handing out over 2,000 Christmas gifts to the homeless and needy in Baltimore. The event will happen outdoors directly across from Our Daily Bread. Many hands make for lighter work so even if you only have a few hours to give, they would be so grateful. To assist Happy Helpers please contact them at http://www.happyhelpersforthehomeless.com/ ~HZM

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