Christmas Card communitarians

The spirit of the Christmas season dictates that we look outside of ourselves. To those of the Christian faith, this time of year is rooted in the example of Jesus. He gave without thought of reciprocal benefit. He healed. He gave comfort. He fed.

His life has inspired millions of kind acts for more than two millennia. One of those most notably moved to emulate Jesus was the tenth century nobleman, Wenceslas I, Duke of Bohemia. Many will know the name because it is memorialized in the eponymous song, “Good King Wenceslas.”

A 12th century Wenceslas biographer, Cosmas of Prague, wrote of the Bohemian saint: “But his deeds I think you know better than I could tell you; for, as is read in his Passion, no one doubts that, rising every night from his noble bed, with bare feet and only one chamberlain, he went around to God’s churches and gave alms generously to widows, orphans, those in prison and afflicted by every difficulty, so much so that he was considered, not a prince, but the father of all the wretched.”

We need not march out barefooted into bitter cold for our caring acts to have meaning. In fact, we have an opportunity locally to do great things with very little effort at all.

Every year for the last two and a half decades, the Pine Bluff Commercial has sponsored a “Christmas Card” fund. Starting each year on Thanksgiving Day, the fundraiser goes through mid-December. Everyone who gives at least $1 by the deadline (Dec. 19 this year), will have their names placed on a Christmas Card to be published in the newspaper before Christmas Day.

Obviously, the point is not to see one’s name inked into the record books. Rather, it is to become a part of a greater mission — a mission where all proceeds go to the children and families of the Pine Bluff, Dollarway, Watson Chapel and White Hall school districts who have encountered unexpected difficulties this year.

This effort requires so very little on your part. All you have to do is take a check or cash to the Commercial’s office at 300 South Beech Street by Wednesday of this week. Anything will help. Whether it be a single dollar or that boxcar full of cash that you’ve been quietly hoarding — your gift will make a difference. Unlike so many charities, all the money goes out to those in need.

As of last Friday, this year’s total stands at $3,086. While that’s a good start, the people of Pine Bluff can do better. All you have to do is decide to buy one less coffee, one less coke, a smaller lunch or pass up that magazine — and put those few dollars to work for the common good.

We as a community are so fortunate. Most of us have too much food, a warm place to sleep and a sense that those things won’t change. There are, however, those among us who fate has dealt a different hand. If your core purpose for celebrating Christmas has anything at all to do with Jesus, you have an obligation to follow his example. While the Christmas Card fund is but one way among many to accomplish that goal, it is a simple, inexpensive and meaningful place to start. We need your help and others do, too.