These three simple words – O Holy Night – bring such vivid images to mind night long ago, in the humblest of settings, when Mary and Joseph knelt beside a newborn child wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. Much has changed since then, but over 2,000 years later, we still celebrate the birth of the child called Jesus.
When I was a child, I thought of Christmas as a one-day celebration. I hated for the day to end, knowing that I had to wait 364 days for the next one. As I grew older, my perception of Christmas changed dramatically, and I realized that Christmas doesn’t end at midnight on December 25th. This is much more than a date on the calendar. Every Christmas is a link to the past, a state of mind, a time of joy, but above all else, a celebration of faith. Christmas is a season that can last year-round.
My 28 Christmases at St. Vincent de Paul have certainly given me a new perspective on the spirit of Christmas. Because people see me on television talking about St. Vincent de Paul, I’m often given credit for the good work of our organization, but it’s our supporters, volunteers, and staff that truly deserve the credit. Over the years, I’ve seen a level of love, compassion, and generosity that may peak on Christmas Day, but it’s constant throughout the year. That’s the reason St. Vincent de Paul is the community leader in providing hot meals, clothing, shelter, prescription medicines – and so much more.
We love to share information about the good work we do, but publicity is not our goal. Our goal is to make our community a better place for the needy; to provide basic necessities to the poor and homeless; to give a hand-up to people that have nowhere else to turn – to do what is right and good. And we don’t limit our good works to one day or one season. We’re doing our best to keep the Christmas spirit alive 365 days a year.
If you’ve never visited the St. Vincent de Paul main charitable campus; if you’ve never volunteered at one of our programs, I encourage you to consider doing so. If you are interested in visiting or volunteering, you can send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (225) 383-7837, extension O, for more information. A great New Year’s resolution in 2018 would be to get involved in St. Vincent de Paul.
Our challenge is to keep the Christmas spirit of giving, caring, and sharing alive all year long, and you can be a part of our efforts. To every member of the St. Vincent de Paul family, I want to extend my heartfelt thanks. To our current – and future – supporters, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!
-- Michael J. Acaldo, President & CEO, St. Vincent de Paul Charities