Giving is not just about making a donation. It is about making a difference.Kathy Calvin – CEO & President of the United Nations Foundation
Last night I went to see The Christmas Jars movie with six members of my book club, The Chapter Chicks. I don’t usually go to the movies on a school night, but this was a “one night only” event. We read Christmas Jars by Jason Wright many years ago. If you are not familiar with the story, “Christmas Jars shares the story of Hope Jensen, an aspiring journalist who uncovers the remarkable secret behind a holiday phenomenon: money-filled glass jars anonymously given to people in need.”
While the plot has the potential of being a Hallmark movie, (Those of you who are regular readers know how much I love those!) the twist is that although the novel is fiction, the Christmas Jars are fact. Author Jason Wright did this exact thing with his family in 2004 when they started collecting coins in a jar and anonymously gave it to a family in need at Christmas. His experience was the force behind the novel. It was published in 2005 and became a worldwide phenomenon. People who read the book began collecting coins (and cash) and delivering it anonymously to a family in need at Christmas.
The Chapter Chicks have done this almost every year since we first read the book. We collect our change at home, turn it into paper money then anonymously place our cash in an envelope, so no one knows how much anyone else is giving. We place the cash in a jar and decorate it with a bow. The jar goes in a gift bag along with a copy of the book. Then one of us gets “tasked” with delivering the jar to our chosen family under cover of darkness, or in the early morning hours before most people are awake, or in even brazenly in the middle of the day. We ring the bell and run. (Well we use to run – now we need to give ourselves a little more time to make a getaway.) I can’t explain the feeling of sheer joy we all feel when the mission is completed.
Over the years we Chicks have all had our ups and downs, job losses, health issues, floods, fires, deaths, weddings, and births of grandchildren, and we are all in different places financially, yet it doesn’t matter if you place $10 or $100 in the envelope. The feeling of giving to someone else in need is so satisfying. It makes you take a look at life from a different perspective. You begin to look at your world and see the wonderful gifts you have been given instead of the challenges you face, the goodness in people instead of the evil in society, the power of small gestures instead of the seduction of commercialism.
If you haven’t read the book, I highly suggest it. If you have read the book, I hope this a reminder that it is never too late to start a Christmas Jar of your own and make a difference in the life of another. This is not a religious movement; it is a kindness movement, so if you don’t celebrate Christmas perhaps you can start a “Holiday Jar”, or a “Kindness Jar” or a “Generosity Jar.” No matter what you decide, don’t miss the opportunity to make a difference in the life of someone else.