In a past blog post I said that we should create our own traditions and not always work into the traditions that are already in existence. Saying that, there is a tradition for me on Christmas that I have been a part of for the last 13 years…or so. Every Christmas I go to the North Shore Neighborhood House and help serve Christmas lunch to the homeless, single parents, low income seniors and new immigrants. These are people who might not have anywhere to go on Christmas Day. Unfortunately over the years, there has been a rise in the number of people who come out to this event.
This year, Stephanie F came out to help because she saw my tweet and request for a volunteer. I was glad to have her there as it gets quite busy (thanks Stephanie). We both got there for 11:30am and rolled up our sleeves to get going. It started slow but quickly picked up. I usually work the drink station and you have to keep running. What I also appreciated was that in the past, people would come in, quietly eat and then leave. Today, people were singing, dancing and just enjoying each others company.
Why do I do this and give up Christmas with the family? Well, one lady asked me this today and I said it is a labour of love and simply put, I want to serve. For the briefest of moments I want to take away your worries, your troubles and sorrow and make you feel happy inside. You can leave your difficulties outside today. Another person told me that she had not come out on Christmas Day for many years and this year said she needed to go out. She had tears because she felt that she really had no one to share with, had troubles in the past and was now feeling happy at being out with others who made her feel good. I embraced her hands to say that I was very happy to have her with us today. This is why I do it…to serve. I will be back next year and the year after as this is now my tradition too. I enjoy the faces and smiles as people leave and the hearty ‘Merry Christmas” and “Thank You”…reason enough for me! Yes, this is a gift I enjoy receiving and returning every year.