By Bill Gerber
Last December as Christmas approached it should have been a joyous, festive time. However, this was not the case. With Covid lockdowns and the subsequent invasion of fear and uncertainty, it was gloomy. We were facing a pandemic of depression, discouragement, despair, debt, divorce and more. No concerts, no caroling, no church or family gatherings were permitted. It did not seem real. I decided to try and raise the downtrodden spirits and rescue a bit of joy. How? Ancient wisdom says it’s better to give than receive so I decided on the first of December I would give something to someone each day until Christmas. 25 Days of Giving. For accountability, I would document the experience and share it online with pictures. The first day I purchased poinsettias and delivered them to senior shut-ins. Next, I took some special sushi to North Vancouver for a friend quarantining after returning from missionary work. On the following days I tipped my mechanic, trimmed my neighbours hedge, paid for the groceries of strangers, joined a Salvation Army bell ringer and passed out chocolate bars to unexpecting shoppers who looked like they needed a little lift. Gift cards were handed to our garbage collectors and delivery guy. Each interaction was friendly, personal and unique. I wrote about the giving experiences and posted the story online. People enjoyed reading them and commented how this adventure in generosity was a beacon of joy in otherwise sad times. It was a dark and gloomy time in human history when Jesus entered it to bring triumphant light of hope for a brighter future. His sacrifice of love inspires us to reach out and pay it forward. Why not try it? Give a gift, a compliment, a word of encouragement. Share a prayer or a meal. Send a card, make a phone call. Offer your time, talents or treasures in a way that shares the love of Jesus this season. People desperately need it.