In the weeks leading up to Christmas, Americans are bombarded with two kinds of appeals. One is to buy items for their families and friends and the other is to give money or gifts to a number of charitable causes.
It seems reasonable that anyone able to respond to the first appeal certainly ought to respond to the second.
Although we hope everyone is making an effort to appreciate the spiritual meaning of the Christmas season, there is no doubt that spending money and buying gifts has become a major part of the holiday celebration. Many retailers count on Christmas sales to have a profitable year, and we certainly wish our local retailers much success in that goal.
Giving gifts is a wonderful, generous way to celebrate Christmas and show our love for others, but the reality is that many of us are desperately seeking gift ideas for people we love, but who really don't need anything.
At the same time, there are people right here in Lawrence who need some of the basic items many of us have in abundance. The challenge is to get these two groups together.
There are many opportunities. Unfortunately, some of the traditional avenues for giving seem to be having more difficulty that usual meeting local needs. The Salvation Army has been unable to recruit as many bellringers as they need and, although Christmas is only 10 days away, many families who have asked for holiday help still have not been matched with donors.
We hate to think that people don't care enough to help, and the history of Lawrence certainly argues against that assessment. Maybe people just haven't gotten around to making the call, writing the check or donating gifts or food. Whatever the reason, it's time to step up and be part of the solution.
Nationally, considerable concern has been expressed about Christmas losing its meaning and simply becoming an excuse for excessive spending and indulgence. One way to counter that impression is for those of us who have more than we need to share some of that excess with those who need more. A few fewer presents around your Christmas tree probably would hardly be noticed, but a few presents shared with those who are less fortunate could bring a lot of holiday happiness.
It's what the holiday should be about. Don't forget to share the joy.