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For weeks now we have been debating Santa’s ethnicity, Jesus’ race, should we be offended by a reality show star’s interpretation of bible scriptures, what gifts we should buy the people in our lives and on and on.

But of all the times of the year, Christmas is when we all should slow down and remember what’s important; life and family.

That could very well be the end of this commentary but if you’ll allow me I’ll go on for just a bit.

Because in the midst of running around and trying to figure out what to buy for whom, what gifts we’re going to get, and spending way more money than we should, we sometimes forget the true meaning of the season.

And with all the commercialization of the holiday we can’t be reminded enough about its meaning and importance.

If you’re a Christian, Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ the son of the God whom all Christians are supposed to revere, respect and honor.

For Jews, Hanukkah commemorates the re-dedication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem following the Jewish victory over the Syrian-Greeks.

We are supposed to unselfishly think about others rather than ourselves. That’s one reason for the gift giving.

What should I give the people around me?

How do I show others that I appreciate them and what they contribute to not only my life, but the world?

How do I honor those I love and those I don’t love so much? And, no matter how little we think we have, there is always someone who has less.

That’s why many of us volunteer at shelters, hospitals, soup kitchens, food dispensaries.

We do it because we know that the best way to honor whatever creator we believe in is by giving unselfishly.

That doesn’t always mean buying the most expensive jewelry, or fanciest outfit or latest piece of electronic equipment.

To me it could mean just showing up at a shelter, just showing up at the front door of that uncle or cousin you fell out with and haven’t spoken to in years.

To me it means forgiving that ex-husband, or wife, or boyfriend who broke your heart or betrayed you.

To me it means rebirth; letting go of the past to make room for the future; a future that’s not weighted down by bitterness.

The greatest gift we can give this holiday season can’t be bought in a store or on the internet.

The greatest gift we can give is ourselves.

If you really want to be rewarded this holiday season, rather than spending a ton of cash on things you won’t remember a few days from now; go do something for someone else.

Just carry some food to a shelter or a church or home for battered women.

Go serve food at a soup kitchen.

Go visit a nursing home.

Go visit sick people in a hospital.

You never know, but in one of those places, you might just find Jesus.

Don’s Holiday Message: ‘The Greatest Gift We Can Give is Ourselves’  was originally published on