Yes, the holidays are indeed upon us. Granted, many stores started celebrating Christmas the day after Halloween, but most people I know seem to prefer to wait until after Thanksgiving to start their Christmas decorating, baking and listening to music of this joyous season.
And, along with all of the typical associations we have with the Christmas season, there is another one that we probably don’t think of when we are decorating in our homes, but it is hard to miss when we are out shopping and that is the Red Kettle Drive of the Salvation Army. Those bell-ringers donning their red aprons, trying to stir up enthusiasm for helping the less fortunate in this season of giving.
Maybe you have tossed a little (or more than just a little) change into those kettles. Maybe you have even rung that bell, reminding people of the needs of others during this season of blessings. Maybe you’ve even been involved in some behind-the-scenes work of setting up or taking down the kettle stand, or counting and depositing money. Whatever way in which you have participated in that effort, know that you have done something good to help the less fortunate.
If I could implore you today in one way, it would be to find out the phone number of the person coordinating the bell ringing schedule in your area and take one hour to ring that bell. It is such an important job. This year I am helping to check on the kettles throughout the day and when they are getting full, it is part of my job to empty them and take the money to the bank. Well, yesterday when I was emptying a kettle, I did not have a fresh empty kettle to replace it so I had to simply open the kettle and put the contents into a money bag. While I had the kettle open, as I was trying to take the money out, people kept walking by, and it was almost as if people were throwing money into that open kettle! There is just something so compelling about that kettle! I think maybe as people go about their lives, they realize there are people in need all around them, and deep down I think people do wish they could do something to help. But then life gets the best of them – they get busy and distracted and they might not think they have the time or the ability to do something to help. But, when they see that kettle, and hear that little bell ring-a-linging, they are inspired that, “Now! I can do something to help right now!” and they throw in their money.
As you go about your Christmas festivities, including shopping, as you pass by those Red Kettles, do what you will with your change, but I invite you particularly to simply remember how each of us has a unique way in which we can contribute to making this world a better place. Maybe you have discovered your unique way. Maybe the folks wearing those red aprons, ringing those bells, will be your cue this year to discover what your unique role is!
Peace to you and yours this blessed season.