December 28, 2012

Socking It To The Poor -- Bruce Atchison

How sad it is that the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has developed into a greed fest. Though people attend Christmas Eve services, their minds are filled with the excitement of getting and giving presents. Some folks contribute to The Salvation Army or a similar charity but the poor and disenfranchised are often an afterthought in the hectic schedule of the holiday season.

Though I had turned my back on God during the early nineties, I still felt that I should do something to help street people in need of some holiday cheer. At a discount stor, I bought as many woolen socks as I could afford. Then I took a shopping bag full of them down to the Salvation Army a few mornings before Christmas.

"I'd like to donate these to you folks to help the street people," I explained to a skeptical man at their distribution depot. "Since I don't celebrate Christmas anymore, I thought I'd help them out in a practical way."

The Salvation Army clerk opened the bag and stared in astonishment at all the brand new winter socks. "This is amazing," he exclaimed in wonder. "People usually come here to get something, not to give."

"Well, I figure that these people need something like this more than my well-off friends so I decided to buy these socks for them."

"Thanks for bringing these in to us," he said as he smiled and shook my hand. "Thats wonderful of you to do this."

I strolled out of the front door, finally feeling I'd done something noble for my fellow man.

Whoever said that Jesus was the only person who never gets presents on his birthday these days got it right in most cases. It all seems so pointless to give gifts to those who will just give you something back. Like Christ said about banquets, it's better to invite those who are too poor to invite you back again. Far too many folks are wound up in partying, visiting, and banqueting at this time of year. Why not invite somebody who has nobody to be with at this time of year to supper or lunch? Why not help out at a ministry to the street people? Remember too that there are people in need all year round, not just at this season.


  1. Hi Bruce, I love your act of generosity, and agree that Christmas has (for the majority of people) devolved into a completely commercial holiday, instead of a holy day.

    For the last few years, instead of giving us a tangible gift, my in-laws have purchased an item through the Christian Blind Mission catalogue for a needy family in another country. We have been including in our Christmas celebration a lady who would otherwise be on her own for the day (and I'd love to do this for more people). I also like Sheila Wray Gregoire's approach to gifting, which she calls the Three Gifts of Christmas (see

  2. A great way to celebrate Christmas!
    Yes, we try to do something like donating Christmas shoe boxes, money to Salvation Army or helping out needy families through church during this festive season. But that comes as a secondary thling, after shopping for our loved ones and friends to do the gift exchange.
    What you've suggested is to put the needy ones the priority and the other things as a secondary things. Thanks for your suggestions.

  3. Some of my family members do this as well (purchase a goat for instance for a family in Africa...) I like to give to benevolent causes all year round, but try to up it at Christmas time

  4. Oh Bruce, what a wonderful post!

    Thank you so much for sharing it with us.


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