Having Holiday Spirit Year-Round


Why can’t every day be Christmas? Not wanting to wait another 364 days, a child asked, “If every day was Christmas, would it be so special?”

What makes the Christmas season so special? Is it the bright lights on cold, dark nights? Is it the decorations, festive foods, the traditions and rituals from the lighting of the advent candles to the hanging of stockings? Is it gatherings with friends and family? Is it the emphasis on love, compassion, kindness and caring for others, as represented in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ?

The heart of Christmas is about love, generosity and joy. I see all of that demonstrated clearly in my work at SPAN. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, we receive many donations – lots of individuals, businesses and other community groups drop off collections of food and or financial donations. The generosity at this time of year is needed to fill our shelves and accounts to provide for quieter times. Our Holiday Caring program, thanks to the kindness of so many in the community, brought joy to over 150 families! Together, we were able to provide food for a holiday meal and gifts for close to 375 children. We saw and heard the happiness that, together, we brought to many. It truly is a wonderful time of year!

As we begin a new year, we pack up the decorations and I think of the generosity, joy and connections with others that were forefront in the last weeks. Can we carry some of those special parts of Christmas with us throughout the year? And even better, can we do it without adding a lot more to our to-do list?

Watching “Elf” recently reminded me how much joy can be found in everyday life. Think of the exuberance that Buddy the Elf brings to everything, even little things such as revolving doors. Without holiday decorations and celebrations, let’s find happiness in the simple things – a beautiful sunset, a good cup of coffee or reading a good book on a rainy day. Let’s maintain the connections with family and friends as we did during the holidays – make the phone call, visit a friend, spend time with the ones we love. And let’s continue to practice the generosity that is such a big part of the holiday season.

While the season often brings a heightened focus on the needs of others, those needs exist throughout the year. Small, consistent contributions can add up, whether that be monthly financial donations or donating a few food items on a consistent basis. Small actions add up and contribute to big impacts.

Let’s take the messages of peace, hope and goodwill toward all and bring them with us into the new year. Although I said that if every day was Christmas, it wouldn’t be so special. Let us instead think of it as a time of reflection and a launching point to start the new year off well, with some of that Christmas spirit.

SPAN (Serving People Across Neighborhoods) is an independent nonprofit food pantry and emergency services provider that has been helping local families with eviction prevention, utility turnoffs, medical/prescription bills, and food since 1990. SPAN serves 14 zip codes in Anne Arundel County. SPAN is located behind Our Shepherd Lutheran Church at 400 Benfield Road in Severna Park. Hours are Monday through Thursday from 10:00am-1:30pm. For more information, call 410-647-0889, email spanhelps@yahoo.com or visit www.spanhelps.org. Financial donations may be made through the website. Food donations may be dropped off 24/7 using the storage bin behind SPAN’s building. Please “like” SPAN on Facebook!


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