The kids’ Christmas lists are endless. A note sent home in your child’s backpack suggests that you donate to the school district in honor of your favorite teacher as a gift idea. Your mailbox is full of “gifts” from Charities in the hope that you will return the kind gesture by donating ten, twenty or even fifty dollars to their cause. Your caller ID is maxed out with phone numbers of Charities. You decide to escape the phone calls by doing a little Christmas shopping and run into the Salvation Army bell ringers posted at almost every store you enter. You brush past them only to bump into the collection box for toys to give to the needy. Grocery shopping is beginning to look good, but there you run into the food pantry boxes. Every where you turn, someone wants something from you. How can you say, “no” to the sad faces? You shield your eyes and you run home as quickly as you can. Your spouse comes home to find you in the fetal position in the corner, rocking back and forth hoping for the season to be over. Does this sound familiar?
In this season of giving, everyone seems to expect something. But we need to be honest. How real are those expectations? Yes there are some who expect things. But, we have to draw the lines.
I have to tell my five year old that she cannot have everything she sees on the commercials on television. Curse those advertisement agencies.
I cannot give to every charity, but I can give what I can afford, to the one that means something to me.
I can load my pockets up with change when I go to the stores. That way when I see the bell ringers, I can give some copper and/or silver to my daughter to throw into the bucket. Every little bit counts.
During this season, we have to remember that if we try to do too much, we will be struggling to tread water in the wave of charities that ask for our help. Like a rip current, they pull us out to sea. But if we remember to swim parallel to shore until we don’t feel that pull anymore, we can survive and make it back where the waves are safer.