Holiday Magic - A Vow To Last A Lifetime
The magic of the holidays lies not in the gift we received but rather in the gifts we give from our hearts. This is the greatest leadership quality known to human
He was just a boy of 12 years old. His Father had left home when the boy was very young. Father was an alcoholic and the son, Al, often felt alone without his Dad by his side.
It was the Christmas season in Montreal, Canada. Al adored Christmas and as he shopped for gifts for his family, he enjoyed looking at all the twinkling lights. He loved listening to the sound of songs like “Jingle Bells” and “I’ll be Home for Christmas”. He was not in any hurry so he sat to watch the skaters skating on the outdoor rink under the giant fir trees all decked out with thousands of coloured lights.
Al watched as Dads skated hand in hand with their sons and daughters, laughing as they stumbled to stay upright on thin blades. The smell of roasting chestnuts filled the air. “Christmas is magical”, Al thought.
It was getting late. It was time to leave and go back home as his Mother would be worried. As he walked from the park to the street, he noticed a gentleman dressed as Santa ringing his bell in front of a cauldron of money. This gent was raising money for the homeless. Just a short distance away from the Santa was a man laying face down on the sidewalk. Al noticed that the passers by simply walked around or even over this man. Not a single person, not even Santa, stopped to check on the man to see if he was okay.
Al’s mother had always taught him to be caring, kind and compassionate. So Al walked up to the man on the ground and gently turned him over to see if there was anything he could do to help. In that instant, Al was speechless because he recognized the man. That man was his Father.
Al’s young heart simply could not understand why people were walking around and over this man and not a single person offered to help. Christ’s teachings are always about kindness and compassion for all beings, human and animal. Christ taught us to be generous and loving. Yet, somehow this Christmas, some humans were so caught up in the materialism of Christmas that they had forgotten about the real meaning of Christmas.
In that moment, Al vowed to become a Minister of a church. He vowed to be a leader that helps as many homeless and needy people as possible and to never overlook anyone who needs comfort.
Reverend Al stuck to his vow. He does not have a building for a church from which to deliver sermons. He does not marry people. His ministry is very different and precious. Every morning Reverend Al rises before the sun, drives an hour to get to his “job”, stops in at a coffee shop and buys umpteen number of cups of coffee and goodies and walks around the city of Victoria BC Canada to minister to the homeless.
Some of them are still asleep when he arrives to find them snuggled against a rock in the pouring rain. Some are hidden under the bridges foggy from drugs and/or alcohol. Reverend Al is their hero. No matter who they are or what their challenges are, he never forgets them. As they sip their coffee, he sits and listens to their pain, their joys and their dreams. He helps them acquire food, accommodation, a hot shower, sleeping bags, blankets and whatever else they need. After all, isn’t that what Christ would also do all year long?
I like to remember this true story at Christmas time, Hanukkah, Diwali, Ramadan and all special holidays. Just like Diwali where we invite the darkness to be replaced by light, Christmas is a precious time to light up our world inside of us with loving kindness.
The magic of the holidays lies not in the gifts we receive but rather in the gifts we give from our hearts. This is the greatest leadership quality known to human.
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