When I think of the holidays, I think of spending time with family, enjoying Christmas music, eating comfort foods, and sitting by the Christmas tree. We can agree that the calendar gets pretty hectic as we race around to all the holiday gatherings, school performances, church events, and winter sports practices. Sometimes in all this glitter and glow and holiday hubbub, the real meaning of Christmas gets lost. Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. To many, giving from the heart is a way to celebrate this Christian holiday.
“We can do no great things — only small things with great love.” — Mother Teresa
Giving from the heart to others takes on many different forms, whether it is giving time, giving money, giving food, or giving gifts. Christmas is a time to do small things with great love.
The reality for many families in Shelby County does not include the same holiday memories that I think of at Christmas. With holiday “cheer” everywhere we look, it makes it more difficult for children to understand Christmas is not about the glitter and glow and hubbub.
“How wonderful that no one need wait a single moment to improve the world.” — Anne Frank
School is a great place to help students become aware of diversity, aware of giving to others in need, and aware of community service. Giving from the heart during the Christmas holiday, Sidney Middle School students and staff work to fill 40 holiday food boxes for our own middle school families in need of being reassured that someone is thinking of them and wishing them holiday cheer. The SMS student council sponsors this food box drive and we are proud this will be our ninth year delivering boxes at the start of Christmas break. Our students gather a list of items that will allow a family to have a holiday feast, as well as food items for additional meals during the school break. Funds raised by the student council through admissions to school dances allows for a canned ham to also be delivered with the box of food. Students have enjoyed this giving tradition each year and compete to decorate their classroom’s food box with holiday cheer for the family receiving it.
“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.” — Maya Angelou
There are many lessons to learn in giving from the heart. This is one small thing done with great love by Sidney Middle School students and staff for our families. We wish each of you a very merry Christmas and encourage you to give from the heart to others in need.
The writer is the principal of Sidney Middle School.