By Beverly Gads0n-Birch
“It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.” Everywhere I go, I see Christmas. This time of year is very nostalgic. It’s a time of giving and a time of reflection. It’s a time to think more of others than of self.
It’s a very special time of the year. In the spirit of giving, please don’t y’al call me about giving not another dime. Like the preacher would say, I have “given until it hurts.” If you haven’t given to someone in need, do so. You will enjoy your blessings more.
My mom taught us at an early age to give and help those that were less fortunate. I am thinking, “hummm, is there anyone on this planet less fortunate than us?” Here we were living from paycheck to paycheck and hardly making ends meet and I am thinking what is there to give. Well, I have lived long enough to know there is so much more than money. Folks need food, clothing and a roof over their head. They need love. Sometimes, it gets even deeper than that. Sometimes, you have to help folks with their medicine or utility bill.
So, let’s just take a walk down memory lane. It is just by the grace of God that I am even alive. So, I am just glad to be here. I have gotten to the point that I don’t even want anything or need anything for Christmas. Boy, have I come a long way! I can remember one Christmas, some years ago, my sister asked whether we had a family that we wanted to adopt for Christmas and if not, she saw a little boy on television who really needed help. Well, I was certainly willing to listen to her story and why we should help him and his family.
After listening to her story about the little boy, it was a given. We decided to adopt his family for Christmas. His story captured my heart and pocketbook. Some of you may remember the story. If not, let me share it with you! The little boy lived in Cottageville. He was around seven years old. The reporter interviewed him and asked what did he want for Christmas. He replied, he wanted “an axe”. The boy’s answer blew my mind. Yes, you heard right. The little boy wanted an axe so he could cut wood for his grandmother.
What seven year old even thinks like that? He didn’t ask for anything for himself but because he didn’t, he got a lot. My family went all out putting clothes and food together for the family, toys and an axe for the boy. At the time, I had a decent job and a decent place to stay. I had food and plenty of clothes. In other words, I was living a little above the poverty level. Y’all know, that’s how we lived, generations after generations. I grew up poor, so I know what poor looks like. I know their struggles. I just didn’t think back on how young poor can be.
Even now as I reflect on that Christmas and the little boy, I can’t help but think about what ever happened to him. It is my hope that he made it out of his despairing situation. His selfless act of wanting an “axe” so he could cut wood to keep his grandmother warm was beyond comprehension. Although, I make it a point to give of whatever little I may have, nothing could have impacted my giving more than the little “axe” boy.
My grandmomma used to say if you just live right, you won’t have to worry about “nothing”. Well, granny might have had a point there. I have a friend who owns a clothing store. I have supported her over the years. I stopped by to wish her a Merry Christmas and guess what? She wanted to know of a family she could help. Y’all see how that giving thing works.
As I continue to reflect, I can’t help but think about those that put their lives on the line so that mine could be better. I am talking about some of our local folks like, Rev. Mack Sharpe, Rev. Omega Newman, Septima P. Clark, Rev. Fred Dawson and Rev. Willis Goodwin. In the spirit of giving, I give you thanks!
And, to all of y’all out there, Merry Christmas! Take the time to thank somebody for helping you get where you are today. That’s the true meaning of Christmas.