A holiday season associated with joy and wonder has provided unwelcome proof of the fragility of life and the capacity for evil. If we have pulled our loved ones closer this month in response to heartbreaking ugliness – such as the Connecticut elementary school massacre, the Dollar General murders and the Topeka police officers’ slayings – we also have seen ample evidence of the goodness that flourishes and sustains our hopes.
Consider those who have found room in their hearts and personal finances to contribute toys, bikes and dollars to the Salvation Army, which expected to serve more than 3,600 families through its annual Angel Tree distribution last week. Or the donors who have helped the Salvation Army’s red kettle campaign aim for its $1.8 million goal. Or those who have given more than $183,000 so far to Share the Season, to help with medical costs, utility bills and other immediate needs through the annual program sponsored by the Wichita Community Foundation, the Salvation Army and The Eagle.
“God always has your back,” said one grateful single mother, about how Share the Season was part of changing her family’s fortunes.
Then there was the outpouring of help for Inter-Faith Ministries’ Operation Holiday, which served 13,400 people in 4,300 families with more than 93,200 food items, nearly 5,000 coats, more than 950 blankets and more than $245,000 in donations.
As Sandi Harrison, marketing director for Inter-Faith Ministries, told The Eagle editorial board, “This just could not happen if it wasn’t for the generosity of the community.”
That recent generosity also has taken the form of free sneakers, turkeys, furnaces, gift cards, three gold coins worth $1,700 each, new Habitat for Humanity homes and even blood, through the ongoing 18th-annual Battle of the Badges blood drive. The giving that brightens the holidays for needy families and senior citizens involves thousands of volunteer hours as well – a remarkable gift itself during a season with little time to spare.
Of course, we should not stop at expressing gratitude for the caring and love for others exemplified this December. We should endeavor to go out and make more, flooding the darkness with light. Perhaps more than previous ones, this season has shown that the world can use more peace and good will toward men.