’Tis the season for . . . good deeds

Steve Brown's picture

Supposedly, this is the season for gift giving. It’s the season when people expect to receive gifts. It’s the season when the government expects you to boost the national economy through retail sales.

Throw in some trees and some bright lights and you have the American Christmas.

Celebrating the birth of the Christ Child is almost an afterthought these days. If you do not believe my depiction, go ask a group of children to define the spirit of Christmas? Guess where they get that view from?

So much time is spent on the gift runaround it is hard to put the truly important things in perspective.

As a young boy, I once asked my Grandpa Brown what he got for Christmas when he was a boy. I was shocked to hear all he got was a small bag of nuts and an orange! But he did not despise his parents. Even more shocking, he was very grateful to receive that measly little gift. How could it be?

I learned so many lessons from those grandparents up in the Tennessee mountains. The Great Depression and the hard rural life in the Appalachians gave them a magnificent perspective on life. They appreciated life to the point where everyday could appear as Christmas. They had their health, a roof over their heads, food in the pantry, the means to earn a living and a God who cared.

Since my mid-twenties, I envied their slower pace of life, their love and their appreciation of everything that came their way. Moreover, all of the recent government bailout garbage has caused me to loathe the self-indulgent lives we lead today.

Does it really surprise anyone to know that giving to charities – at a time they need it the most – has fallen sharply? It is the circle the wagons and to hell with the neighbors mentality that takes over when the thought of sacrifice does not appeal to our bloated appetites.

What would happen to our community if our families set aside their longing for gifts and pooled those funds and did something nice for the school bus driver or the crossing guard officer who freezes every morning so our children make it to school safely?

What would happen to our community if our families did something nice for the custodians – don’t know their names – of the building we are in every day?

What would happen if we split the groceries one week, half for our family and half for the local food pantries?

What would happen if we called our local scout leader, teacher, pastor, coach or elderly person living down the street and asked if we could help in any way?

These are dangerous questions, my friend. These are the seeds of heartfelt revolution.

Can you imagine what would happen if we tore down our monuments to materialism and tightfistedness and began living out all of those sermons we heard in church for so many years?

Who knows, can we fit loving thoughts and good deeds into our schedules? For many the answer will be “no.”

[Steve Brown is the former mayor of Peachtree City. He can be reached at stevebrownptc@ureach.com.]

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