Happy Holidays. Seasons Greetings. Merry Christmas. Feliz Navidad. Happy Hanukkah. Happy Kwanza. Happy New Year!
(If I left out some Holidays, visit
for a pretty comprehensive list of others, including some quite whimsical - like National Egg Nog Day and the National Day of the Ninja!)
While we may celebrate this season for different reasons, a common elements to most holiday celebrations is the idea of connecting with others. Some focus on family; others focus on friends (and even foes!); yet others focus on strangers... And oftentimes many of us try to focus a bit on all the aforementioned. Some travel far; others welcome others to their home; and, then there are those that just want to ‘get away from it all’...
We’ve all heard of the power of ‘buying local’... Well, how about the power of ‘gifting & serving local’? Right here in Silver Spring we have so many organizations, institutions, families, and individuals in need of our support that it really merits the question: What am I giving - and how am I serving - locally? (Please note: This in no way shape or form should be construed as a challenge to those of us that also ‘give and serve’ regionally, nationally, and internationally... It is not a matter of either/or; it is a matter of both/and.)
It is simply amazing how sometimes we walk right by, look right through, and choose to not see the real difficulties faced by many of our very own community members literally right in our mist. While Silver Spring’s poverty is not necessarily ‘in your face’, there are some serious ‘pockets of poverty’ that are very real. And, it is not only the poverty. It is also the alienation, economic dislocation, and hurt that is amongst us right here in Silver Spring...
However, we are extremely fortunate to have in Silver Spring public, private, non-profit, and faith initiatives that do a tremendous job in addressing all these needs and situations. Some of it obvious; other not so much:
- Our public ‘safety net’ programs - while faced with serious funding challenges - is alive and well. But, they do need our help. Many all welcome volunteers. Don’t assume they have all they need! Stop and ask.
- Many of the private entities and corporations in Silver Spring provide opportunities for their employees to ‘get involved locally’. While some of these opportunities may not be always evident, they are there. Don’t assume they don’t exist! Stop and ask.
- Our locally serving non-profit networks are always inventing new ways to do with less traditional resources to help our community. If you are on the board, know the staff, or simply have participated in one of their programs and/or activities, please consider financially supporting them. Don’t assume they’ll come to you - they may simply be too busy doing their work! Stop and ask.
- The faith community in Silver Spring is so incredibly active individually and in coalitions helping those in need, the isolated, and the deprived. We have a faith congregation in almost every block. Regardless of whether you worship locally or not, please consider joining one of our faith community’s social justice efforts. Don’t assume they’ll want to convert you - they just want to join you in the struggle! Stop and ask.
Whatever you do for the Holidays and wherever they may take you, we hope you will take a minute to consider how you are contributing your talents in your own community. The possibilities are truly endless! Stop and ask.
And, if all of this talk turns you off and makes you want to rebuttal, you may want to celebrate Bah Humbug Day... more info at:
See you around Silver Spring in 2012!