The season of giving

A friend shows up at the door with a Christmas basket filled with homemade cookies, fruit, a bottle of wine, all gaily wrapped in holiday colors. She’s never done this before, and you realize how much she’s come to care for you.

At church, you talk with someone who’s new to town. She’s been sick. She can’t drive. She needs help getting to the doctor. A man standing nearby says he’d be happy to take her, that others in the church would be happy to do so too. “Put your name in the healing chest,” he says, referring to a brown box near the front door. “Someone will pray for you every day.”

Walking downtown, a young man with rings in his ears and spiky hair hits you up for “spare change.” Feeling the spirit, you happily give him the three dollar bills in your pocket. “Happy holidays,” you say with a smile. He smiles back, says “God bless you,” then walks over to the Salvation Army pot and drops in one of the bills.

Whatever you celebrate, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas or simply the joy of the season, it’s about giving to others, whether out of love or compassion or both. Giving not only frees us from the bonds of selfishness, it’s an antidote to all that is wrong in the world, the greed and hatred and envy that poison our lives and pit people against people. Giving is a form of activism that transcends politics and ideology and can unite and include us all in simple delight.

In that spirit, the staff of the Chico News & Review wishes its readers a wonderful holiday season.