There are many memories that come up for me as I consider the holidays. And each has to do with the giving spirit.
One that stands out for me happened when I was a kid (maybe around 5 or 6 years old) on the farm in Saskatchewan. We were poor farmers, with an old house with no running water in the home, and an outhouse for the toilet. We were pretty isolated. On Christmas eve, I recall a group of carolers showed up in the dark singing carols in Polish and Ukrainian, as was a tradition back then. They went around from farm to farm in the community, and for a few years they would make their rounds. That’s something I’ve not seen since. It really brought the community aspect of Christmas celebration out to those who were more isolated like we were. Just a small thing, but I will always remember it, because it’s not common anymore.
Such giving (and receiving) shows up in the MDI circles as well.
Another more recent memory of Christmas holiday community cheer took place in my MDI Division, “Head Smashed In,” when we put on an annual Christmas project for the “Ray Lowrey Project,” in memory of one of our men who started this project. With his leading context, we came to help the less fortunate among the community at large.
We would do several fundraisers in the months leading up to the event, a Halloween dance and silent auction. Then with the funds collected, we’d allocate the thousands of dollars towards needy families to bring them Christmas … special delivery. Each family would receive hundreds of dollars worth of gifts and food. We’d get a supermarket to donate turkeys and all the fixings.
I enjoyed being a sponsor of a random family that I was assigned. I would meet with them prior to and find out what their needs were, And we’d shop, have a wrapping party, and then a few days before December 25, I’d personally deliver a car load of gifts to them. It was a huge deal for many of these families that were going through some hard times. It was a big deal for our men’s division, which could deliver the holidays to dozens of families, often over 100 people.
And it felt good to know we made an impact, however big or small, with a well-organized team of men all committed to this higher purpose. Delivering Christmas made our Christmas a lot brighter.
It was all part of the giving and receiving that makes the holidays what they are… for ourselves, for our teams and for our communities.