In previous holiday seasons, I’ve written about a particular scene toward the end of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” Today – Christmas 2007 -- it seems appropriate to repeat the point.
In Dickens’ classic story, Ebenezer Scrooge has awakened from his life-changing dream. Confused but realizing he is receiving another chance to mend his “humbug” ways, opens his window and calls out to a boy in the street below.
"What's to-day, my fine fellow?" said Scrooge.
"Today?" replied the boy. "Why, Christmas Day."
"It's Christmas Day!" said Scrooge to himself. "I haven't missed it.”
In the rush of activities and events in the run-up to Christmas, many folks set “By Christmas” as a single point in time -- the instant when the Christmas Clock clicks down to all zeroes. “I have to ship that gift by X for it to arrive by Christmas.” Or, “I need to finish making that item by Christmas.”
You get the idea.
On occasion, that list includes helping out the less-fortunate. An additional handful of change for the Salvation Army kettle. A gift to drop off at the community center or your church. A check to a charity or church group that helps the needy.
How many of us ever get everything done by Christmas? Chances are, today arrived with something still on your “To Do” list. Sometimes that creates a sense of regret or even guilt.
Certainly, there is good reason to have certain tasks completed by today. It is hard to explain to a child why Santa might get around to delivering a present next week. Or the week after.
However, if helping the less fortunate is not checked off your list today, there is great news. The organizations and agencies helping the needy – including the Telegraph Herald's Santa’s Helper partners -- aren’t closing up shop today. They will be there tomorrow, the day after tomorrow and the days and years ahead.
There is always an opportunity to help the needy – here in the tri-states and around the world. So, if doing something to help the less-fortunate remains on your To Do list this Christmas morning, don’t put it aside. Christmas is a season, not just one day. There is still time to help.
I hope you’ll consider it.