What to Do With Your Christmas Leftovers

for the week of December 25, 2000
by Rubel Shelly

Christmas spirit is too precious and wonderful to be confined to that period of the year between Thanksgiving Day and December 25. So take the scraps that will be left from today and use them to mark out a lifestyle for the coming year.

Put a mayonnaise jar in your kitchen and make it your "Christmas Club Account" for 2001. Put a couple of dollars a week into it. Or empty your change into it every night you eat a meal at home. Use the money next Christmas for children whose names are on a mall Angel Tree or as an anonymous gift to a struggling family. Every time you drop in a penny, quarter, or $5-dollar bill, you and everyone at your table will get a little tickle of Christmas spirit.

Adopt a missionary family from your church. Do something special for them on the 25th of each moth. Send photos you make at your church on the Sunday before. Send pictures of yourself, your family, or you and a pet. Compose something for them on your computer, and send it by e-mail. Be creative. You'll feel a "Christmas rush" every month as you do something for them on the 25th.

Pick someone who is shut-in or in a nursing home and do something special for that man or woman on the 25th of each month. A personal visit, lunch together, an anonymous gift, a beautiful plant just let the 25th be your target date each month, and imagine it as a "Christmas-All-Year-Long Project."

Design your own project. Let a different member of your own family be the focus of your attention each month. Let it be the sourest person in your office. It doesn't matter. The important thing is to hold the spirit of Christmas alive not only in memory but in practical goodwill and love during the entire year.

Some anonymous writer put it this way: "Christmas is not merely a lump of sugar to take away the sour taste of reality. Christmas is reality: a reality which will blaze eternally after man's last artificial light flickers out. If we unite ourselves with that reality, we will be given the courage to live joyously in the new year."

I've been doing this since Christmas of 1990. I won't tell you what my past projects have been or what this year's Christmas venture will be. It's my secret for now. But anytime during the month of December 2001 that you want to tell me what you did with this year's "Christmas leftovers," I'll be more than pleased to let you know how my project for the year works out.

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