By House Minority Leader Craig Ford
The holidays are a time for giving. We give gifts to our friends, families, and co-workers. We give money and other donations to charities like Toys for Tots, the Salvation Army, or a local food bank. But money and presents are the only gifts we can give, and sometimes are not the gifts that are most needed.
One thing we all have, no matter what our profession or how much money we earn, is time. Some may have more time than others, but we all have some time that we can give to help those in need this holiday season.
There are many ways you can give your time that would be a blessing to someone else. You could visit a nursing home or assisted living community and visit with those who cannot get out and travel this holiday season. For many of these people, they do not get to spend much time with their families or other people outside of their nursing home.
You could be a great Christmas present to someone in one of these facilities just by taking some time to talk with them and listen to their stories. You can spend time with them playing cards or dominoes, or just sit and talk for a while. If you have musical talents, you could play an instrument or sing Christmas songs with them.
But nursing homes are not the only place you can donate your time. Imagine how you would feel if you or someone you care about were sick or hurt and stuck in the hospital during the holidays. You can be a real blessing to someone – especially a child – just by visiting with them, reading to them, or singing Christmas carols to them. Maybe you could dress as Santa and give a sick child an opportunity to tell Santa what he or she wants for Christmas.
Another option could be to help an older or disabled person in your neighborhood with maintenance in or around their home. You could help them rake their leaves or clean out their gutters. Maybe they need someone to help them paint a room, or sweep their driveway? Or you could offer to take them to the grocery store or a doctor’s appointment if they have a hard time driving or getting out to run errands.
For Christians, Christmas is the time of year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus. As Jesus was God’s gift to mankind, we can celebrate Jesus’ birth by giving to those He said we should take care of: the poor, the sick, the elderly, children, and those in need. There are plenty of ways we can be a blessing to others this holiday season. So I encourage you to call a local hospital or nursing home and see how you can donate your time this holiday season, or to reach out to your neighbors and see if there is anything you can do for them.
Giving presents and making donations are wonderful things, but sometimes the greatest gift we can give is our time. This holiday season, let’s follow Christ’s example and give of ourselves. And from my family to yours, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Representative Craig Ford is a Democrat from Gadsden. He has served in the Alabama House of Representatives since 2000. In 2010, Representative Ford was elected House Minority Leader by the House Democratic Caucus. He was re-elected Minority Leader in 2012.