Seniors: Christmas and Hanukkah Disciplines

Dec 7th, 2010 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

What will make for a Christmas and Hanukkah that offers treasure and happiness is not gifts. Heresy! Nope! Won’t do it. What will make for a Christmas to be remembered will be a whole new perspective on the holiday itself.

How does that happen? It happens when you toss the gift list and begin with an orientation that asks: “What shall Christmas and Hanukkah mean this year?” This is a good year to test that question. Look around; there are answers abundant.

Start with some research. What could I do with the time and money I would otherwise spend on shopping? What may I do to help those whose desperate straits leave them without any promise of a renewing holiday? What may I do to translate the GDP (gross domestic product) into Good Deeds Performed?

You might start with identifying an unemployed family to spend Christmas or some other day at your house.  (There are over ten million unemployed people in the United States today.)  You will want to survey your pantry and your grocery list for food to be donated to Food Banks. You can contribute joyfully to the Salvation Army Ringers. You can identify through churches, social agencies, and neighborhood groups how to locate families who are in particular need, identify that need and meet it. You can go caroling with a group and go to places where spirits need to be especially lifted by leaving baskets of joy and necessities. You can pray a little more frequently that this holiday will not just be another self centered occasion.

Christmas and spiritual disciplines need thought and deliberate action. They need to be actions thought through in light of the pain real people are experiencing. They need to reach beyond ordinary behaviors into extraordinary charity. They need to be inspired by Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol” and motivated by the Christmas story itself.

Maybe showing up at a homeless shelter on Christmas Day, or around it, to serve meals would be a way your family could light its own candle. Maybe another way is driving down an inner city street during the holidays with gifts for those who are pushing grocery carts full of their worldly goods and offering them gifts of care.

There are ways out there to translate Christmas into Discipline, Hanukkah into Hope.



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