Paper Angels

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Except, for many people it isn’t. For many people it reminds them of how alone they are. For many people this time of year is chock full of stress and despair. For many this is the time of year that their plight and the depression stemming from that plight is magnified to the near unmanageable levels. And for some…it’s a time of year where they succumb to that sadness they see no end to.


For every parent humming “Jingle Bells,” whilst shopping or making cookies for their little angels; there is another parent living through “Jingle Hell,” because they can do nothing or very little for their own little angels.


In a period of time when so many are complaining and whining about elections or politics or first world problems, now is a perfect opportunity to harness that strife and help bring a little joy to the world; to help brighten a child’s life; to help alleviate some of the stress and despair of some reeling parent.


We live in the greatest country in the world. We live in the richest country in the world, but there are millions of children that do not live in the reality that most of us face on a day-to-day basis. There are kids without coats and shoes and toys. There are parents with out homes and money and hope. The disparity between the world that many of us live in and the world these people live in is vast. Those problems will take generations to fix, but there is so much that we can do by, honestly doing so very little.


Many of us live in a world where we debate about which new iPhone or car to buy. But there are many out there that debate which bill they can pay to keep a roof over their children’s heads and food in their stomachs. But many of us are so insulated that we never see these people…its not tangible to us…they aren’t real.


It is cliché, but it is also true that Christmas to many is about gifts and family and it is, to a degree  about those things. But Christmas is about much more than trees and lights and presents and arguments with your crazy uncle. Christmas to Christians is about the Gift that we received in the form of Jesus Christ. But, whether you are a Christian or not, Christmas is about bringing joy to the world. Gifts are given, or should be given to bring joy to others. Fellowship with family around dinner tables is not about food, but about the joy that is, or should be realized by spending time with those that you love…and love you. But that joy, for too many is never felt.


So, while you and I wont fix the plight of those that are in need right now, we can and should do what we can, especially this time of year to spread that joy to others. 


At a point in my life I was the name on a little paper angel hanging from a Christmas tree at my church and in years that I wasn’t I remember my mother scouring the sale flyers, camping out on Black Friday, and trying to hide her worry that she wouldn’t be able to provide a Christmas for her own “angels.” But, because of some special people, I felt the joy that was gifted to me by people that believed in spreading the real meaning of this season to others and my mother got a slight reprieve from the stress this season brings to so many parents. I will never forget those kind people or the important lesson that they helped teach me, not through empty words, but through acts. Because of those people, I have also felt the joy of adopting Angel Tree children of my own and helping spread that joy to children that I will never meet.


So, this is my request of you…go to your church or YMCA or Salvation Army or wherever and pick up one of those little pieces of paper with a child’s name on it. Spend a little less on yourself or your loved ones or booze or coffee and help bring joy to a child and parents that so desperately need something good to happen to them.


Yes, this is somewhat of a guilt trip and I make no apologies for that, but I promise that my intentions are good and I promise that the gift you give this season could be so much more than just a truck or a doll…but hope and a lesson that will stick with a child or parent for the rest of their life…just like it did with me. And maybe someday they will remember what you did for them, with tears in their eyes as they help spread joy and hope to someone else.


Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas




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