Family, Giving Spirt Make Christmas Special

December 20, 2018

As I get older Christmas had taken on a different meaning, than when I was young.

Mike Wilcox Mike's Musings Columnist

Mike Wilcox
Mike’s Musings Columnist

I still remember waking up at dawn and running down the stair steps to see what Santa had left me under the Christmas tree. Each holiday season was truly a joyous occasion, as my siblings and I opened up presents that included the latest toys and technological wonders.

Now I could care less. Christmas now means a time to spend with those same siblings that through life’s twist and turns you see far less often than you would like. It is also a time to give to others.

Last Saturday was just one of those magical times, I was able to break bread and enjoy conversation with two sisters and a brother. I call it magical because it was the first time in several decades that no children or grandchildren were invited. It was just the five of us (actually four, my youngest sister was unable to make it- stuck in Florida with an ailing husband) and our spouses.

It was magical, because instead of spending time chasing the grandkids around the house, we sat down for hours catching up on what everyone was up to- a new house for my brother, a cruise from one sister, and a new car for another. More importantly we were able to boast about the glory days, as Bruce Springsteen would call them, when I was a gifted athlete, and my sisters’ were excellent scholars.

We haven’t had the opportunity to do that in many years. Don’t get me wrong, sons and daughters and grandkids are very fun to have around, but this was so awesome, being able to conjure up life as it was several years ago, with the people you are the closest to and will forever be.

Family is important. If you have had the privilege to see Clint Eastwood’s latest work of art, “The Mule”, he lived a life that didn’t much include family. He was estranged from his wife and daughter until he began running drugs as the ripe age of 88, realizing he wasn’t immortal and suddenly yearned to be with his family more than anything else in life. He lost dozens of years with family in a trade-off for business, only to discover at the end of life, family was more important than any business.
It is also important, however, to give to the less fortunate. Whether it be at a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving or Christmas, or adopting a family to provide presents or food to, giving is more important than receiving.

For the past several years we have asked readers in need to write us at several of my newspapers during the Christmas season. Some of the letters will bring tears to your eyes. You really have no idea how some people in your community survive. Some survive without heat, others without food or shelter. It is a darn shame that any family in America should have to live like some of our neighbors do.

As I write this I am proud to say, thanks to the generosity of area businesses and several concerned individual contributors, I am writing checks to dozens of families so that they can provide for their children during Christmas. All told, we will probably send out nearly $15,000 to these families. I can’t thank those businesses and individuals enough, who have helped us provide. You are truly an inspiration to me and I can tell you unequivocally that the families on the receiving end are very grateful.
I pray that each and every one of you have a Merry Christmas. Remember family and remember to “help thy neighbor.”

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