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Its the time of year when friends and family (generally) get together to exchange gifts, eat, drink, and just meet up after long absences - not only is it Christmas but many other religious festivals occur this time of year.

 You may have gone out to shopping centers/malls or even the food stores to stock up and undoubtedly saw folks with collection tins, pulling on your heartstrings to donate to various good causes - or even seen television commercials doing the same 'guilt tripping' in your own home.

 But why should this time of year be any different?

I draw your attention to one of the 16 Teachings of the jedi(ist)

14. We as Jedi believe that love and compassion are central to our lives. We must love each other as we love ourselves; by doing this, we envelope all life in the positive energy of the Force.

No where is there a sub claus (or santa claus :D ) saying this only happens in December.

 We actively teah and enourage acts of selflessness and generosity.  But this need and is indeed NOT limited to dropping a few coins in the collection tin - there is nothing wrong in doing that at all, and if you can do so , then great.  But money is not always the answer, in fact, it is sometimes the cause of the problem (think of the old saying 'money is the root of all evil')

Now it is very very easily to make a list of good causes who rightly need and deserve financial assistamce to help them with their work - im sure if we felt like it we could make a list of several thousand good causes.

 But there are so many other good dees that in fact will give greater rewards to yourself than dropping the few coins into a tin.

 Here are some examples...

 Helping physically, giving up your free time and energy helping at (for example) animal shelters, old folks homes, local community, even picking up litter from the streets or local play area.

 Help a less able neighbour on a regular basis, do their shopping, gardening, walk dog, feed/clean pets, cook a hot meal for them (especially important in cold weather) or make sure they are hyf

drated in hot weather (often forgotten that the vulnernable in society find hot weather as hard as cold weather) - even just spending some time talking to them will bring much light and joy to a lonely person.  This light will be radiated fromt hem and back to you, 

You could help collect items for sale for charity shops, donate items yourself, even things such as old blankets and towels are of massive use to homeless and animal shelters, when you shop for groceries, you could buy an extra can or two of food (either human or animal) and donate these to sa local group - even something as simple as feeding the wildlife in your own yard give back to the force.

 ANYTHING big or small is brought back to you ten fold - what goes around comes around - and whilst ive said this before, the biggest gift any one can give is life - if you can, please be a blood donar and carry an organ donar card - learn first aid and cpr - I hopenone of us never need to either give these or recieve them - but imagine the joy to the number of lives you could give by saving 1 life.

Charity takes many many forms - but charity begins at home - money does NOT make the world go round - the force does that ;)

So please - think about these words all year round and not just for a few weeks at the end of each year.


Kana-Seiko Haruki