It is the most wonderful time of the year! The Christmas season brings a level of energy unlike any other. As I have shared before, I have three children at home, which adds another level of excitement to the season. The traditions that they look forward to, mean more each year that they are repeated and we reflect on how significant they are to our family. We are also nearing the age where questions of logic are beginning to be raised about the man who comes down our chimney and leaves presents under the tree. As I have dreaded this day, I have often thought of how I will approach that conversation. Recently, I read this account and it replaced my dread with hope.
Son: “Dad, I think I’m old enough now. Is there a Santa Claus?”
Dad: “Okay, I agree that you are old enough. But before I tell you, I have a question for you. You see, the “truth” is a dangerous gift. Once you know something, you can’t unknow it. Once you know the truth about Santa Claus, you will never again understand and relate to him as you do now. So, my question is: Are you sure you want to know?”
Son: “Yes, I want to know.”
Dad: “Okay, I will tell you. Yes, there is a Santa Claus.”
Dad: “Yes, really. But he’s not an old man with a beard and a red suit. That’s just what we tell kids. You see, kids are too young to understand the true nature of Santa Claus, so we explain it to them in a way that they can understand. The truth about Santa Claus is that he’s not a person at all; he’s an idea. Think of all those presents Santa gave you over the years. I actually bought those myself. I watched you open them and it didn’t bother me that you didn’t thank me. In fact, it gave me great pleasure. You see, Santa Claus is the idea of giving simply for the sake of giving, without the thought of thanks or acknowledgement. For example, when I saw the woman collapse on the subway last week and called for help, I knew that she’d never know it was me that called for an ambulance. I was being Santa Claus when I did that.”
Dad: “So now that you know, you are part of it. You have to be Santa Claus now too. That means you can never tell a young kid the secret, you have to help us select Santa presents for them, and most importantly, you have to look for opportunities to help people. Got it?
There are so many levels of understanding to this conversation between father and son, that it led me in a few different directions. I worked as an elementary teacher for 11 years before becoming a counselor. I loved my job as a teacher as I had a chance to interact with so many people. Watching a child succeed on their own in areas that I guided them through over months of practice is what propelled me to work harder every day. However, as I thought about how I worked with these children and families, I reflected on the “truths” about my career as a teacher. I did not just wake up one day and all of a sudden know how to teach six- and seven-year-olds how to decode letters and persevere through the hard moments to learn to recognize words. There were people along my path that had to pour into my life to give me these gifts and talents. Individuals invested in me and were willing to share what they knew in order to help me become a better educator.
As I thought more about this, I began to think about the other areas of my life that have been impacted by the generosity of others. How did you get to where you are today? All too often, we become distracted by the busyness of life that we forget what we have been given. We fill our lives with meaningless distractions that take away from the simplest joys around us. I often talk about this in session with people that are in search of this happiness that they do not believe that they have within their reach. They are so focused on the idea of what life is supposed to look like, that they are searching externally for something that already exists internally. I decided that if I want my clients to try meaningful reflections of gratitude, I need to participate first. I launched my own social experiment with the help of Facebook. For the month of November, I showed gratitude to people and things that have impacted my life and that I truly believe are at the hand of God. The only rules for my experiment were that these things could not be tangible. It had to be feelings, perspective, knowledge, and people. The outcome was more than I expected. I feared, in the very beginning, that I would run out of ideas or that they would sound cliché. I found that I was wrong.
Over the last 30 days, I have had more conversations with people about hope, friendship, childhood memories, talents, and the power of perspective. I challenged myself to think deeper about the gifts and blessings in my life and how they came to be. When was the last time you stopped to ask yourself about the first friend you made and what that gift of that friendship did to your life? Or when you learned the importance and powerful outcome of hope? Do you still look for opportunities to help people? Who have you been a Santa for in your life?
I am not saying that life has been an easy ride. Or that life is free from suffering. What I am saying is that suffering holds meaning that brings us to growth. We sometimes get stuck in the constant cycle of dissatisfaction and forget to stop and think about the beauty that life offers us. As I got further into the month, I learned a great deal about myself. I was humbled by the acts of kindness of others humans when I stopped to think of the “Santa’s” I have known along my path. I then began to reflect on myself as a giver. I had to ask, have I taken all the opportunities laid at my feet to help others? To be honest, the answer is no. However, today is as good an opportunity as any. I began to think of ways that I could use the opportunity to help others see life as a gift and have the same perspective. The gift of giving. The truth of Santa.
So, I share this with you to ask you the same. Do you view the gift of the season as an opportunity to be someone’s Santa? Does it seem like you are just moving from one thing to the next, or do you take on each day searching with eyes wide open for your opportunity? What if you were to dedicate just one day this holiday season to being a person of giving? There is an actual chemical reaction that occurs inside of us when we feel satisfaction from giving. It produces healthy levels of cortisol and oxytocin which, in turn, bring us happiness. Imagine if you gave something of meaning and great purpose to another person, every day. What could that do for your life?
2 Corinthians 9:6-8
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
My challenge is simple, find a way to give to someone else. Think outside of yourself, and focus on the needs of others. Challenge yourself to find a way through something that is not tangible but rather, something that evokes a feeling, perspective, knowledge, love, salvation, belonging, or healing. Whatever that may be for that other person, how can you pour into them and bless them abundantly? If your mind happens to draw a blank, I know of a certain non-profit organization that focuses on providing counseling and healing to families that may not be able to seek services. Whatever place you decide to give, find one that draws you closer to your purpose and meaning in life. One thing I can promise you, the outcome for both is priceless. I wish you and yours a very Blessed and Merry Christmas!
The 3rd Annual Peace Partnership Christmas Lottery tickets are on sale now until December 13th or SELL OUT. Lottery tickets are $100 each and give you 15 chances to win. There are only 300 tickets and we have already sold half of them so don’t wait. Buy your tickets now! Your support provides affordable counseling to the individuals, children, and families in your community. Please share this fundraiser with friends, family, and coworkers to help even more people. If you are able to help us get the word out at your business, print the pdf flyer here. The LIVE Facebook drawing will be held on Tuesday, December 13th! To check out the details on each of the 15 prizes visit our Facebook album. You definitely don’t want to miss these prizes!
Thank you to Cheryl Julo, Kathleen Moore, Trina Cole, Natalie Blaine, Athena Brattin, Kelly Hawley, Mandi Pollard, Kimberly Davis, Jeff & Shannon Britton, Tom Ross, Phillip Tanner, Don & Linda Pearce, Brandon & Vanessa Blanchard, Rachel Tovey, Libby Morrow, Ted Koehler, Jill Getman, Tom & Georgiann Manz, Carry Dooley, John & Kelly Whitwood, Matt & Kristy Newton, Lisa Larson, Ed & Kristy Caley, Betty Manes, Micah Hefner, Jacob Schweizer, ZoAnn Peace, Joey Zarrillo, Mark & Cathy McGaughey, Kevin Quinn, Andre & Rose Fantasma, Brian Hill, Laura Bowman, Lee & Debbie Miller, Luke Davis, Karin Blevins, Andrew Weiss, Kelsey Singleton, Matt Splichal, Sandra King, Mitch & Jen Rappard, Ricci Bickle, Cyndi Eskina, Briana Collins, Leigh Ann Paull, Alan Ramirez, Penny Long, Angela Lester, Ron Green, Cindy Stokes, Drew Davis, Mike & Amber Balbier, Stephen & Natalia Ray, Kayla Tomosieski, Lisa & Duane Smith, Denise Hamblin, Tom Hudak, Scott Bayless, Natalie Goe, August Huber, Joe Huber, Mary Keitel, Tony Niehaus, Ronnee Schweizer, June Somsanith, Zach & Heidi Stokes, and Phil Thomas for your recent Christmas Lottery ticket purchases. Good luck on the 13th!
As this year quickly comes to a close, we are reminded of the gift that each of you are to Peace Partnership. Your support means so much to each of us. Each gift commitment provides stability not only to our organization, but to our clients as well. Thank you for working alongside us to provide high-quality, affordable counseling services for individuals, children, and families in our community. We couldn’t do it without you and the life change you help provide through your giving is making a generational impact!
Thank you, Vivian & Hymie J. Sosland Charitable Trust, for your generous $5,000 grant. We are so grateful for your support each year.
We express our sincere thanks to EPR Properties for the matching gift provided on behalf of ZoAnn Peace and Rachel Tovey. What an honor to have you partner with us to help change the lives of our clients.
To all of our faithful monthly and recurring supporters - THANK YOU from our Peace Partnership team! – Stone AMP SEO, Jeff & Lacey Cherry, Zane & Melissa Morerod, Jondy & Heather Britton, Mark McDonald, Lone Jack Baptist Church, Matt & Kristy Newton, Clayton & Pam Wooldridge, Greg & Jennifer Spears, Roger & Jennifer Madsen, Brent & Amanda Miller, Mike & Jan McGraw, Willie & Adia Valdes, Linda Hartman, Dave & Rosie Bourland, Rudy & Stacy Blahnik, Mike & Tracy Pruitt, Sandra King, Diane Smith, Stan & Linda Byrd, Dan & Gigi Rippee, Andre & Rose Fantasma, Kevin Quinn, Scott & Lydia Hurley, Jon & Naomi Thompson, John & Keshia Otradovec, Tamara Stroud, Rick & Kathy Daulton, Church at Coffee Creek, John & Vicki Hefner, Cory & Leslie Young, Jenny Glasgow, Teddy Koehler, Brandon & Vanessa Blanchard, Rick & Jan Britton, and Mark & Cathy McGaughey.
We appreciate you!
Contact our Director of Development, Naomi Thompson, at: 816.272.0653 or email@example.com to find out how you can join our team of Partners. To make a donation through our website, please click on the link below.
Have you or someone you know been helped by Peace Partnership or Genesis Counseling? If so, would you please consider paying it forward to help another find healing along their journey? We are asking anyone who is not currently partnering with us financially to consider donating $100/year for the next 3 years to help make a difference in someone else’s life. Collectively, we can help SO MANY PEOPLE! Please consider a gift today. Call the office for help getting your gift set up or choose a recurring donation on our website here. We are so grateful for your help changing lives!