Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward men . . .
Maybe more than any other time of year, the Christmas Season is a time for family and friends; of drawing closer together and sharing love and good times together. But not everyone is able to enjoy those things that many of us take for granted. There are so many adults and children who, living in nursing homes, hospitals or retirement communities watch from a distance while others trade gifts and hugs and laughter. All the time, they can only remember times when they, too, were part of those things.
A couple of weeks ago, the first group of Chaminade-Julienne Honor students came in to help us put together gift boxes for our family Christmas Party that takes place this Saturday. This past weekend, the second wave visited us to wrap the gifts and to make cheerful holiday cards that we will take out to shut-ins at local nursing homes, hospitals and retirement communities.
The young people threw themselves into their work with fervor – and as much good cheer as we’ve seen here in quite a while. There was laughter and good-natured joking, but most of all, you could hear statements about how they felt about what they were doing. They all felt that the simple act of folding a piece of paper, sketching out a little picture and writing a few words on it could bring a little light, a little happiness into lives that otherwise are empty.
The group last year made cards as well, but they were intended only for the gift boxes for our families. After we had wrapped the last gift, we found that we had quite a few cards left over, many of them very artistic and creative. It seemed a shame to just throw out the hard work of these young people, so we came up with the idea of visiting nursing homes and asking to visit those who normally did not get many visitors. During our visit, we would mention to the person that the card we were giving them came from a high school student at C-J. Without exception, this fact brought a smile to the faces of the people we were so privileged to meet.
So, this year, we decided to make it part of the overall project, and it appears that the students enjoyed it just as much as we do.
Perhaps the truest mark of the character of these students is that, on both weekends, when it came time to leave, they thanked us for letting them come in and spend their Saturday morning here, instead of sleeping or hanging out with their friends.
It’s the time of year for blessings to be counted. This year, because of these students, we’ll be able to add many more to our list.
Thanks, C-J! You are the best!