I wrote a post last week to celebrate the relationships I’ve made online. To champion the type of interaction I think is productive, and to really call attention to those I feel embody that spirit of interaction. The response I got from my readers was incredible. The response I got from those I mentioned was heartfelt and moving. I was getting the gifts of fellowship and conversation all weekend.
In reflecting today, it made me think of Christmas time. All personal religious thoughts aside, I love the holiday season for one main reason. Fellowship.
Ok, so I love the holiday season for two reasons…
In my circle of family and friends, we begin celebrating on Halloween, then a number of birthdays in November, then Thanksgiving, and then Christmas and of course…New Years. For me, this is the holiday season. But forget about Jingle Bells Muzak, Secret Santas or Black Friday. For me it is two months of getting together with the ones I love the most and celebrating our lives together. And we tend to gather around food, which further strengthens the bond of our relationships.
Each year around the holidays I write a family newsletter, as I’m sure countless other families do. It is a way for my house to update the ones we love but don’t see regularly, and it is a way to show our deepest love and appreciation for all who receive it.
A few years ago my wife and I sent a dollar bill with each letter. After the summary of our lives during the year, I added a challenge to everyone. I didn’t impose rules, but I did challenge everyone to find a creative use for a dollar. In addition, I had created a blog for all to share their uses of the dollar.
Mine was not an original idea. I’d actually seen something online outlining different uses for a dollar. But my intention was two-fold. First, I wanted to challenge the Christmas spirit. I included this into the letter. My goal was to have people spend the first dollar I gave in December. I challenged them to be creative and if they wished, to be charitable. The bigger challenge was for my friends and family to spend a dollar of their own for each month, and report back to the blog their use of the money. Twelve dollars total, to spread Christmas cheer throughout the year.
Second, my goal was to encourage the interaction. I wanted to learn more about the people in my life. The ones that I update year after year with news of the happenings in my home. The people I share my life with, whether I see them daily or haven’t seen them in years. Though I know many of them intimately and we have close bonds, I wanted to know more about them creatively. For me, the learning is fun and meaningful.
If memory serves we sent nearly $90.00 out into the world to be spent in a creative way. Unfortunately, we only received less than twenty responses on the blog for the original dollar. Those participants were AWESOME, and they kept up the challenge for the first few months, but then the challenge waned altogether. I remain disappointed, but not surprised. Perplexed maybe…
Still for me, the greatest gifts are fellowship. The interaction with others. If I want material things, I’ll save the money to buy them. I’ll earn them through my work. The gift I want is time. Time to spend with people who encourage my dreams, make me laugh, teach me something new and challenge me to be a better person. That is the greatest gift I’ve ever received, and I’m selfish for more.
So today I’m adding a page for the dollar challenge, to encourage a creative spirit and to see what happens. Participation is entirely up to you.
I hope you have an amazing Monday, the start of a rich and fulfilling week…