The Christmas season delivers a large supply of rich foods, rich gifts and rich excess of nearly every description. But it’s also a season of mixed messages, confusion, conflicting expectations and an excess of poverty and despair of every description.
It can be overwhelming. I’m just as likely to get down around the holidays as anyone else. The state of the world today isn’t helping much, either.
A couple of years ago about this time I was a little run down by it all. A person who identifies himself as “A Friend,” a person I’ve never met, stepped in and offered me the opportunity to see things a little differently and lifted my spirits. The person I came to know during my newspaper career as my “Anonymous Friend,” stopped by the Burlington Times-News office and left an envelope containing $3,000 with instructions to split the money evenly between the six charities the newspaper aids during its annual Love Enough to Share holiday fund-raiser. The program was started around 1990 or ’91 under the guidance of my longtime friend and former newspaper colleague Gary Tanner. Every year since then the Times-News is a place to give cash donations to Christmas Cheer, the Salvation Army, Residential Treatment Services of Alamance County, the Foster Children’s Christmas Fund, Operation Santa Claus and Arc of Alamance County ArChristmas Fund.
People can give as much or as little as they wish to Love Enough to Share. They can give anonymously or attach their name. They can give in memory of a deceased friend or loved one. They can give in honor of a family member, friend, organization or, well, anything just about. It’s a great program the newspaper operates from Thanksgiving to the New Year.
Here’s what my friend wrote that day December of 2015.
Would you please distribute this evenly among the six charities that are part of Love Enough to Share? I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks to you and the Times-News for once again running this worthy program. It provides a little bit of good news in a day and time when so much of what we read is discouraging.
In Luke 6:38 Jesus taught, “Give and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Most of us in the United States are far and away better off, at least in terms of worldly possessions, than people in most of the rest of the world. This means that we have a great opportunity to fulfill our Lord’s instructions and assist those both at home and abroad who are in need. Reading the accounts of some of the families and individuals being assisted helps remind me of just how blessed I am to have a roof over my head, food on my table and clothes to wear. Many are not in the same position.
So thank you once again for the effort you and the rest of the staff put in down at the Times-News to bring some hope and cheer to the less fortunate in our community. I hope that God blesses each of you real good for the work you are doing and that you have a safe and prosperous New Year in 2015.
Before this gift in 2015, I had given a small amount to Love Enough to Share, always in memory of my late father and the late mother and father of my spouse. I changed this tradition in 2015 guided by the generosity of a man I don’t know except by his actions over the years and letters. He’s correct in how blessed many of us are, especially me. I have a great spouse, a wonderful family and a job that helps provide for our needs. I feel compelled to share.
Today even though I no longer work for the newspaper I give to Love Enough to Share every single year — in equal amounts to all six charities. I still do memorials to my dad, father-in-law and mother-in-law but I added three more in order to help all six charities. One is given in honor of the bard-working newsroom of the Times-News. Another is in memory of my late friend and newspaper colleague Jim Wicker and the last is in honor of my Anonymous Friend.
If people feel the urge this Christmas season there is still time to give to Love Enough to Share. This form is published daily in the Times-News. Pick up a print copy or stop by the office at 707 S. Main St., Burlington and give to a charity of your choice. And if you think about it, do it in honor of the “Anonymous Friend.”
Thanks and Merry Christmas to you all.