Tony Rossi, Director of Communications
Christmas Brings Out the Best in People
Christmas tends to bring out the best in people. It’s that time of year when we seem more
naturally inclined to reflect God’s divine light and love to others as we celebrate Jesus’s birth.
Consider this story. A member of the Conway Schools Parent Teacher Organization (PTO)
arrived at Safeway to buy 24 hams for the school-sponsored Christmas party for students and
families who couldn’t afford presents or a full meal. After unloading them all onto the conveyor
belt at the cashier’s station, the male customer in front of her laughed and commented, “Wow,
looks like you’re having ham for dinner!”
As reported by the Twitter feed “Good News Correspondent,” the PTO member made a joke in return, then explained what the hams would be used for. After hearing this, the customer told the cashier that he would pay for half the hams himself, which totaled more than $400. The PTO member was shocked and told him he didn’t have to do this. But the man said he wanted to contribute. “So, there he went,” said the PTO member, “paying for over $400 worth of ham for complete strangers he will never meet.”
That incident served as a beautiful reminder of the Christmas spirit of giving. But a generous spirit doesn’t have to involve money. Sometimes, it’s about giving your time. For instance, life can get lonely for the seniors living at Encore Community Services housing in Manhattan, especially for those who don’t have family to visit them during the holiday season. In 2021, the Joyful Noise Carolers brought smiles and plenty of Christmas spirit to residents at the facility, which “provides seniors with meals, mental health resources and housing,” reported Rebecca Greenberg of NY1. The carolers’ mission is to “spread love and hope to as many elders as possible…All group members are volunteers who sing at nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the city.”
Cheryllyn Carter has worked as a home health aide at Encore for nearly two decades and enjoys spreading holiday cheer. She said, “Some of [the seniors] don’t have family, so I spend the majority of my holidays here, make them feel welcomed, loved, make jokes…They feel like family.”
Of course, the reason for the season remains the birth of Jesus, and Catholic journalist and author Peggy Weber recalled a funny memory from her childhood in a column for the website Catholic365.com. Since it was Jesus’s birthday, her sister wanted to do something memorable. So, in church, she walked up to the candles near the altar and sang “Happy Birthday” to the Christ child. She then proceeded to blow out all the candles. Peggy’s family still laughs at this story, but it also makes her reflect on how much they all love to light candles in church, be they the old-fashioned ones with flames or the battery-operated ones with bulbs. Peggy recalled her grandchild recently lighting a candle and praying, “Dear Mary, you are love. Touch my heart! Amen.”
Peggy concluded, “The Christophers have the motto that ‘It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.’ We are hearing about dark winters and more scary days…But during the Christmas season, we celebrate light. So light that candle! And if you want to blow out some birthday candles for Jesus, go ahead. Maybe just don’t do it in church.”
On behalf of everyone at The Christophers, I wish you the hope and light of God that will sustain you throughout the coming year.