Once Monday passes, the holiday season will officially begin. When we put the fun and hi-jinx of Halloween behind us, it's time to officially start "holiday mode." And by start holiday mode, I mean all of our local retail outlets will bust out their Christmas marketing.
Sure, Thanksgiving will sneak in there, and we'll scarf down some turkey, dressing and all that good stuff - but from now until the afternoon of Dec. 24, we will be inundated with a blitz of Christmas "spirit."
Even Harold and Kumar are getting into the mix this year, putting their drug culture spin on one of the world's most holy days, with a brand new film. Why not? After all, everything in today's culture is fair game, right?
So while we drown in the Christmas hype rather than focus on the Christmas hope, I challenge - and I've been doing a lot of this lately - all readers to use this pre-holiday season to do something special. Don't just go through the motions with the mundane task of gift purchasing, and the seasonal parties and social gatherings. Use these final days of 2011 to set the tone for a revitalized and refreshed 2012.
I've been inspired by people with vision this year. The spark of hope that is the Dream Center, came from one man's desire to make it happen. He was told it wouldn't work. It couldn't be done. Yet he persevered. And look at the difference it's making today. A volunteer-run clothing and food ministry. A free medical clinic staffed with medical professionals. The Underground, a youth center catering to approximately 30 children a day, offering them a safe alternative after school.
If you haven't been by the Dream Center, or stopped for a drink or meal at Terrazzo Coffeehouse, make a point to come in and check it out. Saturday night, Terrazzo will host an open mic night starting at 8 p.m. What a great opportunity to stop by for a relaxing evening of free entertainment.
The Daily Reporter will once again participate in the family shopping program, and in the current economic climate, it will undoubtedly be a big year. What a great way to get involved and do something special for someone in this community in a time of need.
Working with Upper Des Moines Opportunity and the Spencer Rotary, the paper coordinates a collection of gifts for families and then, with the assistance of the Spencer Fire Department and local UPS drivers, deliver the gifts to the special families annually.
Another way people can get involved. We could use your help.
Give to the Upper Des Moines Food Pantry by purchasing some extra groceries when you go to the store. This time of year, the food is stretched to the limit, here's your chance to help.
Many of the service clubs offer holiday programs, churches host meals, the public comes together for musical celebrations.
There's a lot of things we can all do, using our own unique talents and gifts, to contribute to the true holiday joy of others. Don't get caught up in the Christmas hype, but instead be a living example of Christmas hope.