The six weeks or so between Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day are usually filled with generosity and good will.
Certainly, that was the case locally in the recent holiday season. Many people opened their hearts and their coffers to both neighbor and stranger. Food, monetary donations and assistance of various kinds were plentiful for those in need.
The outpouring of concern was real and genuine and significant. It was the Christmas spirit in all its wonder and glory.
But, the spirit wanes. Those who were cold or hungry or unemployed in December are probably no less so in January or February.
Individuals who are homebound or otherwise isolated still may be lonely. We need each other twelve months a year.
And the “Spirit of Christmas” is the spirit of Christ, who said, “I give you a new commandment. Love one another as I have loved you.”
That kind of love is neither seasonal nor occasional, but a way of life. Moreover, it needs to reach beyond the charitable actions inspired by the holidays.
True love leads us to seek good education for all, adequate health and wellness care, jobs with a living wage, a safe environment, emotional and spiritual support for each and every one of us.
Joseph Veneroso, a Roman Catholic priest of the Maryknoll missionary order, recently wrote a poem, “Seeking Wisdom and Truth,” which reflects on the great religions of the world.
He begins and ends his poem with the following stanza:
What difference which tree or how deep the root
Or how old or who planted the vine?
Who cares how beautiful or fragrant the flower
If not now, this most holy hour
Believers fail to bear good fruit?