For years my mom and I have been talking about going somewhere to volunteer on Christmas Day, but for one reason or another we’ve never done it. Yesterday, we finally did and it was really wonderful!
One of my colleagues at work sent me an email about a synagogue providing Christmas dinner at a neighboring church. I contacted the organizer and, for the first time, we finally had Christmas Day plans.
Let me insert here a brief note about how weird Christmas Day has always been for me. I know plenty of Jewish families that participated in some portion of Christmas – whether it was having a tree, or hanging stockings over the fire. It’s not a religious thing, but they engage in the culture of Christmas time that happens in the United States.
My family didn’t do that. No trees, no Christmas gifts, no anything. So Dec. 25 became this day that I dreaded because everything in the world was closed, almost everyone I knew was excited and busy with their families and loved ones, and to me it meant…nothing. I felt completely separated from the rest of the world.
Over the years, I’ve gotten over the extreme awkwardness I felt when I was younger. When I was dating various people, I would often spend the holiday with their families. When I was single, I’d rent some movies and get a good book and just have a day apart from the world.
But this year it finally felt right. I was able to take that day apart from the world and do something that was really meaningful to me – serving dinner (carrots, specifically) to people who are less fortunate than I am. And let’s be honest…in this world, there are a lot of people who are less fortunate than I am. Even with the debt and the stress and everything else…I have a roof over my head, food to eat, clothes to wear, a car to drive, and so much more.
A few days ago I wrote about The Santa Fund and how I didn’t have enough money to donate to the cause. Well, I have something else. I have energy. I have time. Those are just as valuable.
Yesterday I was pleased to be doing what I was doing. And the funniest part was that I did it while surrounded by Jews!
Do you ever have times when you feel different from everyone else?
What do you do?