As we count down the days until Christmas, everyone is getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season. There are gifts to buy, cookies to bake, and plans to make. We get so caught up in all these activities that we forget to stop and think of what Christmas is all about. It may sound cliché, but the truth is that Christmas is more than just a gift-giving holiday. I recently found myself caught up in the excitement, but a trip to the Several Sources shelter in Ramsey truly put things in perspective for me. The shelter serves as a meeting place for young unwed mothers to attend group discussions to talk about their feelings and goals. While they did this, a few IHA girls and I watched and played with their babies for a few hours. This service trip couldn’t have come at a better time than during the Christmas season, and I felt the experience was worth sharing.
Knowing that I was in some way helping and supporting these young mothers gave me joy and, despite the chaos of the approaching holiday, made me reflect on what the season should truly be about. These mothers are struggling to support themselves and their babies meanwhile most of us [IHA girls] are running around trying to pick out gifts. In my opinion, one of the greatest gifts you can give is time. Taking the time to help at this shelter was better than any material gift these mothers could receive. That’s what is so special about Christmas- spending time with family and friends, especially those who we may not often spend time with.
Most importantly, we should keep the Christ in Christmas and remember that it is a time to celebrate Jesus’ birth. The season of Advent focuses on hope and anticipation, and in the midst of the Christmas chaos, we should try to keep this in mind. Many people may be going through a very difficult time this Christmas season, and it is so important to have hope and faith for a better future.
With that said, I hope that we all take the time to realize the true meaning of Christmas. The spirit of hope and giving should not end on Christmas day, but continue throughout the year. Of course we’re all looking forward to opening gifts on Christmas morning, but you may be surprised what you discover by simply taking the time to reflect on the meaning of the season.