Rotary Club shares the magic of Christmas

Members of the Clinton-Sampson Rotary Club, as well as other civic organizations across Sampson County, have the right idea of how best to offer Christmas joy to others — with simple and much needed gifts for the elderly or needy children and families, along with a visit and a warm hug, showing the compassion most long for.

It’s perhaps the hugs that matter most.

Offering a hug to any and everyone who needs a little human contact or wants it is a great Christmas outreach and, what’s more, it costs little more than your time.

Earlier this week, Rotary Club members visited The Clinton House, an assisted living facility that houses 36 residents 40 years and older. They carried Christmas goody bags laden with toiletry items and a bright blue blanket emblazoned with the Rotary seal. Just as importantly, they took time away from their day to visit those who get few, if any, visits on any given day. And, what’s more, they offered warm hugs to those who reached out to them.

For some, it likely was a shock, a stranger offering to share a personal moment with them; for others it was a lift to their day.

And that was the Rotary Club’s intent when members set out to touch someone who truly needed it, particularly during the Christmas season.

What a delightful way to start the Christmas holiday, offering to give to others in a very special and personal way.

It’s an idea we all could follow, whether it’s with strangers or just with those we know and love.

For Christmas isn’t really about all the brightly wrapped packages or the parties. Although they are nice, none compare to the gifts we have the power to give, priceless treasures, the knind that can’t be found in a department store nor at a website.

They are the gifts which provide the magic of Christmas.

Gifts such as laughter. To provide someone with a reason to laugh is an invaluable gift that knows no bounds. Laughter can cure the doldrums, lift weary hearts, make the downtrodden forget their troubles and turn an otherwise dreary day into one filled with self-made sunshine. It is truly one of God’s greatest gifts, that of laughter.

A hug. A very personal gift but one that warms the soul — instantly. A hug says “I care.” It says “I love you and “you are not alone.” And whether given at Christmas or on some obscure day, for no reason at all, a hug can lift the spirit, bring a smile and brighten the heart.

Thank you. Two words, little in stature but gigantic when said with sincere feeling, a thank you can make the recipient feel special, needed and accomplished. It, too, can bring a smile, lift a heart and make a big difference in the lives of others.

Respect. Often lacking in the world today, respect of one’s feelings, of the jobs they do, of the people they are, all can boost self-esteem and, in the end, return respect to the giver.

One’s time. It’s the thing most of us are most selfish with, thinking we have little of it to give. But a visit to one of our assisted living centers or nursing homes, even for a few minutes, can lift spirits, bring smiles and show love as quickly as any other gift possibly could.

Love. Of one’s family and friends, but also of one’s neighbors. We should show love in little ways, through the hugs, the laughter and the thank yous, but also through the willingness to go the extra mile to be a little nicer, to share a little more of yourself, and your time. We tell people we love them, but how often do we give them the gift of actually showing it? The difference can bring about amazing results.

Seemingly little things, all these and so many more acts of kindness, help put the magic in Christmas and help us all experience the true meaning of the season.

Just as a tiny baby, born in a lowly cattle stall, brought hope and joy to the world, we, through his example of giving and love, can stir emotions, rekindle hearts and bring joy.

And in doing so, we can make Christmas special for ourselves and for others.

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