What Would Jesus Do?
Posted by Shelby
A few weeks ago was December 25th. It's just another day for some, and a day that means everything to others. This day, which in our culture most people refer to as "Christmas," is usually not summed up as being very Christ-like.
As a child, I remember waking up on December 25th and running into my parents' room, while cupping my eyes to avoid any chance of seeing the presents spilling out of my stocking. I needed to prolong that moment of excitement as long as I could, because I knew it would be another 364 days until I got to see what Santa brought me and my siblings for Christmas.
The entire month of December was all "present talk" at our house. "What do you want for Christmas?" my parents would ask. "If you're good, maybe Santa will bring you that toy for Christmas." They would have babysitters come over to watch us so they could dedicate entire nights to going Christmas shopping. They would spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on toys, clothes, electronic gadgets, and other things that would only bring us momentary joy before it was on to the next.
As I child I obviously thought this was a wonderful time, but as an adult, I wonder how this day (which is purported to be all about celebrating the birth of Jesus,) has turned into an entire month of deals, discounts, and mad dashes to the mall.
I am not a religious person, but as an adult I've had to reconcile what I do on the 25th of December. Why should I, someone who already has lots of things–(many of which I don't need or use), be concerned about receiving or buying gifts for other people who already have lots of things–(many of which they do not need or use). Shouldn't we, (all the people who already have lots of things,) be focusing on the least among us? That's what Jesus would do, right? This past year, I noticed another person who decided to break with the "tradition," and spend December 25th giving back to the least among us.
Patti Angeliz runs Valhalla Canine Rescue in Washington, and we adopted our dog, Wyatt, from her rescue in 2012. Valhalla is currently the partnering organization with our "Drink For Animals" bottle. Patti was already a warrior woman in my eyes, but seeing how she spent Christmas made me realize just how special she is. On Christmas morning I started seeing Facebook updates about what Patti was doing. She set out with a few of the rescue's other volunteers in search of dogs (and their humans), who either by choice or circumstance were now living on the streets. The Valhalla team graciously offered donated dog food and other supplies to the people and pups they met. Patti even offered to come back later that week to help a man pay for his dog's dental expenses.
When they returned home at the end of the day, I can almost guarantee that none of them regretted their day of giving. I am all for spending time with family and loved ones on the holidays, but I think we can do away with buying presents and focus more on giving back. It's never the toys wrapped in layers of plastic that give us the warm fuzzy feelings, it's usually the company we're with, or the way we feel when we do something nice for someone else. I hope that Patti, and all the others who spent the 25th of December giving back, continue to be the leaders and guide everyone to a place where we're all focused on what really matters.
These are some pictures of Patti and team on their journey around Washington on Christmas day.