In This Issue: December 2020
Bring In the Light
As we enter one of the darkest winters we’ve ever known, we all seem to be on a personal quest to make it merry and bright. Some of my friends started decorating their homes before Thanksgiving. The need for holiday cheer runs deep this year. No one is following any rules about when it’s appropriate to bring in the light.
With so many businesses trying to stay afloat, and way too many families unable to put food on the table, let alone buy gifts for their kids, what can we do amidst our own struggles? How can we help others in need?
We found one brilliant answer in the inspiring documentary Dear Santa: A True Story of Kindness, which tells the story of Operation Santa, a 100-year-old program of the U.S. Postal Service. The USPS receives thousands of letters to Santa each year. Many children are completely selfless in their wishes, requesting something for another family member. The film “highlights letters asking for something poignant, something that goes beyond the common wish for a toy.” Then it shows how, through Operation Santa, people from all over the United States can adopt a child (or an adult!) and get them items on their wish list. These gifts are delivered to their front door by the adoptive family, who introduce themselves as Santa’s helpers or elves.
Especially now, it’s heartwarming to watch children and adults stand in shocked disbelief that their wishes have come true. None of them expects their letters to be answered, and the majority are. The biggest struggle for the adoptive family is not knowing which child or adult to choose. “I’d like to adopt them all” is a common refrain in the film.
If you’re like me, you’ve found that there is nothing more satisfying than seeing the joy in someone’s eyes when you give them something they were not expecting. The special gratification that comes from giving is at the heart of Dear Santa. I’m not sure who was happier about the gift handoffs, the givers or the receivers, but I must admit I shed a few tears watching them happen. If you’d like to learn more about Operation Santa, visit DearSanta.movie, watch the trailer at https://bit.ly/3lv38ln, or visit uspsOperationSanta.com.
How else can you give this holiday season? Our family has given to our local food bank, and we’re buying gift cards from struggling restaurants and giving them to friends, teachers, and service providers, so everyone benefits. Some of the funds that would have gone to buying our boy's gifts will instead go to gifts we’ll drop off at a shelter.
It’s time to put 2020 in the rearview mirror, but before we say goodbye, let’s embrace the season with a meaningful act of kindness and head into 2021 with a fresh outlook. There will be light at the end of this tunnel.
May you all have a joyous, safe, and healthy holiday season, and protect yourself and others. See you on the other side.
Cyrece and Michael