Keep spirit of giving in mind

Published 12:22 pm Friday, November 23, 2018

The Thanksgiving holiday is now over, and soon routine will once again prevail as the country returns to work en masse on Monday. Leftovers will stock refrigerators for the coming week, signifying the final and diminishing reminder of the Thanksgiving holiday as the cultural spirit now turns quickly to the Christmas season. As one holiday season ends, another quickly begins, such is life.

Over the course of the Thanksgiving holiday, a large number of government officials, churches, nonprofit organizations and well-intentioned volunteers took time out of their holiday schedule to provide services to those in need of some help.

LaGrange, Hogansville and West Point all had various outreach efforts to assist and partner with members of the community to ensure as many people as possible were able to enjoy the holiday as it was meant to be enjoyed. That spirit of giving and well-intentioned action is a staple of the Thanksgiving season, and also once again reinforced the area’s sharp awareness for need. The Christmas holiday season is also, of course, known for generosity and kindness. That is certainly an undercurrent of the month of December as businesses and families prepare for Dec. 25. Multiple groups, like the Salvation Army, make it a priority to raise funds and awareness for those less fortunate and make a quantifiable difference in the lives of many. However, even in light of all of this good, it is easy to get lost in the materialistic vein of the Christmas holiday.

Take a look at my email inbox, for example. Friday morning I had the usual assortment of work emails to sort through, however I was also inundated with slick, well-crafted and eye-catching emails from companies like Apple, Amazon and Nike pitching me Black Friday deals. To be sure, I scrolled through them all and made note of some items I’d like to see underneath the tree next month. As I was casually scrolling, however, it struck me how quickly my thought process could switch from an outward-focused mindset of giving to a self-serving, inward-focused mindset, worried only about what new, shiny toys may await me.

Let me be clear, I don’t think receiving gifts, or being excited to receive gifts, is a bad thing in the slightest. It is human nature to appreciate gifts, which is why they are a part of our world. However, as we gear up for Christmas and take part in the time-honored traditions of gift giving, don’t lose sight of the spirit of giving and thankfulness that Thanksgiving brings. That spirit tends to get a little more challenging to hold onto as Christmas approaches.

I hope we don’t lose sight of that giving spirit this upcoming month, myself very much included in that hope.