Glenda Overstreet: A message that resonates all year

Glenda Overstreet is an active volunteer and community organizer in Topeka.

During the Christmas season, many of my favorite traditional films are on. You probably feel the same with films such as “A Christmas Story,” “Miracle on 34th Street,” “White Christmas,” “This Christmas,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “A Christmas Carol” and many others.

 

The “Christmas Carol” story really comes to life when I think where we would be without the gift of love. It was love that was ultimately shown to Ebenezer Scrooge to prevent him from wasting his life with unnecessary meanness. He could have also learned a few things from the following cases:

A young boy who remembered times when he was homeless and someone gave him a blanket returned the favor when he chose to give up an opportunity to receive a Xbox and opted instead to use the Xbox funds to purchase blankets for others in need – a priceless gift of love.

Then there is the story of a young father with children who lost his job and looked for months for a new one, but to no avail. Christmas was near and his family of modest means donated money so the children wouldn’t be without Christmas gifts. A priceless gift of love.

Then there was a woman who sat next to a stranger in at Texas church. After being greeted with a hug, the stranger handed her a $20 bill, saying, “God asked me to bless you.” She, in turn, blessed another – a priceless gift of love.

You see, Christmas (a longer word for love) doesn’t just take place in December – it can resonate in hearts and minds throughout the year.

We have a tendency to get off track by being disrespectful to parents, ignoring injustices, mistreating others and just being rude by sharing uncaring thoughts. Although we have Scrooges and Grinches in the word, thankfully, we also have those who show love and care. And that love and care goes a long way.

In the story of the “Christmas Carol,” Ebenezer Scrooge’s unfavorable disposition was ultimately turned into joy. He began to share that joy with his family and friends. The Grinch tried diligently to take away Christmas as he took away gifts, decorations and food, but found that Christmas was in hearts and souls rather than material things.

During Christmas, if not more often, we are reminded (or should be) of the reason for the season and to let no one take our joy.

We can do a lot to ensure that this season becomes one for reaching out to those in need, standing up for those facing injustices, assisting those fighting for equality, providing aid to the sick and afflicted, reading to those thirsty for knowledge, encouraging those who question their abilities, providing time and shelter to the elderly and lonely, protecting and nurturing children, listening more and talking less, ensuring inclusion and refusing to excuse exclusion, dancing with joy and sharing the burden of sadness.

However you celebrate this special event, may you do so with peace, joy and love as you remember the reason for the season.

Glenda Overstreet is an active volunteer and community organizer in Topeka.

 

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