I love the days before Christmas when the hustle and bustle turns to celebration and gathering. It is the time of the calm, the silent nights, holy nights. In those sacred moments, Americans gather together in homes and community, setting aside the time of preparing and surrendering to the Spirit of Christmas.
We are nearly at that moment.
Here at Republican Coffee, the flurry of pre-Christmas orders is past, slowed to a trickle by the reality of shipping deadlines. The coffee is nestled under trees or beside coffee makers, ready to be sipped and enjoyed.
So now, just for a moment or two, let’s turn our thoughts toward one of the greatest American virtues, generosity.
Americans have always been a generous people. It is one of the national characteristics that brings out the best in our pride and patriotism, those moments in our shared experience when Americans step to the front and give their money, their ingenuity or simply their compassion. We are a generous people.
For the closing days of this Christmas season 2015, let’s vow to exemplify the true Spirit of Christmas.
“The spirit of Christmas is the spirit of love and of generosity and of goodness. It illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world's busy life and become more interested in people than in things.”
Thomas S. Monson
Let’s set aside our differences -- even (gasp!) our political differences, and step into our generous nature.
Rather than allowing ourselves to remain isolated behind our garage doors, let’s reach out to our neighbors and share a few moments connecting at the most basic, human level. Share a cookie and a cup of coffee or hot chocolate.
Give some time to a charitable or religious institution. Offer to watch the babies during a Christmas Eve service, or deliver some meals to shut-ins. Drop off a Christmas ornament, or just arrange a coffee date with a friend you haven’t seen in awhile.
Be generous with your time.
One of the easiest and most valued gifts is a simple generosity of spirit. Especially in the heat of the election year, we can begin to see each other as members of opposing teams. At Christmas it is time to set that aside.
How easy that is to say, and yet how hard to do!
Generosity in spirit means we might let the easy potshot go by, not taking the chance to score points but wound a spirit. It means we can remember what draws us together as Americans, more than what divides us. A spirit of generosity lets us see the best in others, even when we don’t agree with their words, actions or philospphy.
It is a holiday truce.
There is time enough, after the Yuletide passes again, to take up the fight again.
Finally -- and you knew this was coming -- Christmas is a time to be generous with your finances. And you know what? We can all afford to do something, even if it seems small. Together, our small gifts yield life-changing results.
“Let your heart feel for the afflictions and distress of everyone, and let your hand give in proportion to your purse.”
Americans are planning to spend an average of $830 on Christmas gifts this season, up from last year’s average of $720. Re-directing or adding to our Christmas spending could go a long way towards meeting needs in this country and around the world.
And as a bonus: nothing annoys liberals more than when conservatives show compassion and justice!
That’s it. Nothing dramatic or novel in this blog post. Just a gentle reminder that in the anticipation of the season, we have a wonderful opportunity to approach our neighbors with open hands and --perhaps -- a strong cup of coffee.