sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

December 14, 2016

virtual advent tour: day 14
posted by soe 5:00 am

Virtual Advent Tour logo
Welcome to Day 14 of the Virtual Advent Tour!

I’m not going to lie to you: my Christmas spirit is suffering this year. I’m having a hard time finding the joy in a season in which the news both here and afar is so, so grim. I’ve been hearing this same sentiment echoed from many quarters, so I know I’m not alone.

Charlie Brown: “My trouble is Christmas. I just don’t understand it. Instead of feeling happy, I feel sort of let down.” Lucy: “You need involvement. You need to get involved in some real Christmas project.”
~ A Charlie Brown Christmas

I’ve pulled together some information on a few charities that could use assistance, either in terms of manpower or donations of cash or goods. Maybe we can find the way forward together through the power of giving:

  • If the news out of east Aleppo, Syria, has you despairing for the citizens being massacred (particularly now that yesterday’s cease fire truce has been violated), consider donating to the White Helmets, a non-governmental volunteer force who are doing rescue and recovery work in rebel-controlled areas. (The latest edits to Wikipedia claim there is some controversy surrounding whether the White Helmets are as positive a force as they claim to be; I leave it to you to decide whether this claim has merit.)
  • Doctors without Borders/Medecins sans Frontieres is an international community of medical aid workers. They serve those ” affected by armed conflict, epidemics, healthcare exclusion and natural or man-made disasters.” (N.B. to knitters: The Yarn Harlot keeps a running tally of donations from yarnie folks.) U.S./Canada/International
  • The Red Cross helps folks in the event of disaster, be it as local as an apartment fire that displaces a single family to natural disasters that wreak havoc on millions. (Yes, they have ridiculous, bigoted rules for donating blood that haven’t been updated since the worst of the AIDS epidemic, but the good they do in the other aspects of their work can’t be denied.) U.S./Canada/International

Tonight I want to tell you the story of an empty stocking. Once upon a midnight clear, there was a child’s cry. A blazing star hung over a stable, and wise men came with birthday gifts. We haven’t forgotten that night down the centuries. We celebrate it with stars on Christmas trees, with the sound of bells, and with gifts. But especially with gifts. You give me a book; I give you a tie. Aunt Martha has always wanted an orange squeezer. My uncle Henry could do with a new pipe. We forget nobody, adult or child. All the stockings are filled. All that is except one. And we have even forgotten to hang it up. A stocking for the child born in a manger. It’s his birthday we’re celebrating. Don’t let us ever forget that. Let us ask ourselves what he would wish for most. And then let each put in his share: Loving kindess, warm hearts, and the stretched out hand of tolerance. All the shining gifts that make peace on earth.
~The Bishop’s Wife

  • It seems to be too late to donate gifts to Toys for Tots in most places this year, but here’s an option for some folks: Be an Elf: If you live in one of 15 metro areas around the U.S., you can head to the post office and answer a child’s letter to Santa. Deadlines vary, but some are as late as the end of next week.
  • First Book puts books and other educational resources in the hands of low-income kids who might not otherwise own any books.
  • Finally, consider a donation to your local library. In addition to offering traditional materials, such as books, periodicals, and reference materials, libraries offer classes, story times, community meeting space, job resources, and digital media, as well as rudimentary services (and daytime shelter) for low-income and homeless members of your town.

Where do you send your holiday donations at this time of the year?

Check back here tomorrow for the next stop on the Virtual Advent Tour. And if you’re interested in taking part in the tour, badges, details, and sign-up info can be found here. We’d love to have you participate.


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