I happen to work with some pretty amazing people and every year as a community we organize drives to help people in need. There are so many organizations that need our help and we are involved in many. I want to share two Advent reflections on this blog that were shared with me by people at schools in my community. Here is the first one:
"What Are You Asking for This Christmas?" by Joyce Rupp
Instead of focusing on material presents, let us request from the Heart of the Holy what most strengthens our souls and enlivens our love. This Christmas I ask for:
Hope, the north star in my soul, that it may always point me toward the Light of the World.
Stillness, to sweep through my restless mind, emptying it of the cluttered debris and floating negativity.
Non-violence, that every thought, word, deed and desire flow gently from me like a brook caressing unmovable stones.
Savoring ,to remember with gratefulness moments of beauty and people's goodwill that prompted gladness.
Other-Centeredness, for the tightly held part of self that ignores, denies or refuses to respond to the plight of others.
Laughter, to retain the sprightly dance of joy amid the endless duties, preparations, chores, and responsibilities.
Perspective, for an inner vision that views each difficult person or situation through the wide lens of kindness.
Solace, to recognize, welcome and embrace what yearns for attention and comfort in the sanctuary of my soul.
Surprise, so the celebration of Christmas rekindles awe and gratitude for the Source of All Love, and influences how I live.
Beautiful isn't it? I was so filled with joy when I read what Mrs. Rupp wrote that I wanted to share it on my blog so you can read it too and reflect. Here is the other story I chose to share with you.
Every year at one of our District's High School, the Social Justice Student Club organizes a Christmas Food Hamper Drive for families-in-need within our school community. In light of our tough economic downturn, the financial stress endured by many of our low-income families has intensified. There has been an overwhelming request for over 100 hampers - the highest number to date! Some of these families are quite large and require multiple hampers. One family in particular has 11 children (including newborn twins) and a single mother working part-time. For many of us, this sort of struggle is unimaginable.
Sometimes this stress manifests itself in our classrooms, as evidenced by a student’s attitude, energy level, and academic performance. The impact of such burdens may be internalized and ignored, and those teenagers go about their day as if everything is fine. Our administrators, teachers, guidance team, resource workers, and support/caretaking staff demonstrate deep compassion by advocating for those students who put on a brave face and hide in the shadows.
Collecting enough non-perishable food items, toiletries, and baby supplies is always a challenge, but despite the “tightening-of-belts” within many of our own households, there has been a tremendous outpouring of support.
Staff members, former staff, and other schools continue to make personal contributions, solicit donations over social media, and reach out to family members, friends and businesses. There have been anonymous cash donors and even a complete stranger in line at a store handed over a $20 bill to help purchase a teacher’s hamper items! Most notably, our students - many of whom face some degree of financial tension at home - have recognized their blessings and offered food from their own pantries.
Thanks to the Calgary Catholic district staff’s generosity and good will, many of our students will have a much brighter Christmas season.
I feel so blessed to be a part of this beautiful Community and all I can say is thank you to all the people that help families in need and organize drives so we/ I can help as well. There are so many earth Angels out there and I feel I am surrounded by many and for that I say Thank You God :). I wish you all a very merry Christmas and best wishes for the New Year 2017!