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Harris Blackwoood: Maintaining the Christmas kindness year-round
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A popular doughnut chain has a neon sign that is illuminated when it sells  freshly glazed, hot doughnuts. It has lured me in more than once.

While we do not have a sign, I think many people turn on the “nice” sign between now and Christmas. I wish we would just leave it on all year.

One of my favorite Christmas songs by Elvis is “Why Can’t Every Day Be Like Christmas.” It recounts all the nice things that happen, and then laments we don’t do them outside of Christmas.

For some people, I think the motivation for Christmas kindness is guilt. I have been in homes where having a present under the tree would be difficult, because they have presents stretched from one wall to the other.

I think some of these folks feel a little remorse because they have so much and others have little or nothing. So, they drop $5 in the Salvation Army kettle kind of like a tip. I just spent $500, here’s a $5 for the poor folks.

We tend to forget folks are just as poor and hungry in February
or September.

When I was volunteering in New York City 15 years ago, I assisted at a church with a large outreach to the homeless. The lady in charge told me every TV station in New York seems to have a drive to collect coats for kids.

What they don’t have is coats for grown-ups. I really never understood this, but homeless people begin wearing a heavy topcoat in October and don’t take it off until about April. They cut the lining and use the space for storage and added insulation. That one coat keeps them warm, shelters them from rain or snow and cushions them when they have to sleep on a steam grate.

We collect canned goods at Thanksgiving and Christmas. It helps food providers serve a lot of people, but I’m sure there are times later in the year when the cupboard is bare.

Jesus, the one we celebrate at this time of year, made it clear we should demonstrate kindness all the time.

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,” Jesus said. “I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me. I was sick and you looked after me. I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

Then, they asked him when they did this and he said when you do this for those in need, you did it for him.

When you do nice things for people this holiday season, be sure and hold back a little of your kindness. Tuck it safely away and spread it around in another season.

One of my favorite Broadway musicals is “Hello, Dolly!” There is a scene when Dolly is quoting her late husband.

“Money, pardon the expression, is like manure,” she said. “It’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread around, encouraging young things to grow.”

There are a lot of old and young who need encouragement and our help. Let’s don’t forget them when the “Nice” light is turned off.

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