Singing loud for all to hear

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --

With the holiday season in full swing, I always like to take some time to reflect on the past year, and the one I’m heading into.

What did I accomplish this year? What do I need to improve on next year? Do I have long-term goals to set up, or did I meet any short-term goals?

The biggest one I reflect on is: did I use my talents and gifts to help people in need this year?

As I was decorating my home with lights, hanging the stockings and trimming the tree, I thought about my church family. I use my gift of singing on a monthly basis to encourage others. It is something I have always done and love doing. Using that gift can bring a smile to others’ faces even during difficult times.

I also think about volunteering. How many hours did I volunteer this year? Should I find somewhere to spend my time for a while during this holiday season and help spread the love, joy and magic of this time of year?

Then I ask myself, why do I volunteer?

Do I do it to feel better about myself? Do I volunteer because I feel obligated to?

My answer is no.

I volunteer because somewhere out there, someone who wants to, can’t. I volunteer because in so many places in the world, including our great country, people need help. They need love, they need joy; they just need a helping hand. Maybe they lost their job and can’t get their foot back in the door yet. Maybe a financial crisis happened that was out of their control and they are just trying to provide for their families.

Whatever the reason, I have no room to judge. I think to myself, “I’m capable and able to do something, to spread love and compassion, and to help another human being out. Maybe one day I’ll need help and they will be there for me.”

These reflections aren’t meant to be had once a year, but often they are, and that’s OK. No one is perfect, but we can all do something to help.

During this holiday season, I challenge you to reflect on your past year and the years to come. How can you help your community? One small act of kindness can have a bigger impact than you know.