The Meaning of the Season

By Sue Wilson Cordle, Volunteer Leader and Board Member

Holiday music is everywhere. Some radio stations go “all-Christmas” music 24-7 even before Thanksgiving, and we hear it in every store, business and TV commercial. While most of us love the fun songs–Jingle Bells, Santa Claus is Coming To Town or Winter Wonderland...there are a few songs that make me feel especially sentimental, almost sad-because I think of the expectation of “joy” so many have for the season. As I reflect on “Chestnuts Roasting” or the hope that “I’ll be home for Christmas “(if only in my dreams), I think of the men and women in the military far from home, the infirm, or those displaced by one of the many natural disasters that occurred this year, from the wildfires to the  hurricanes; and sadly, the many human-made tragedies, too. So many are suffering from something.

This Christmas Eve, while many are celebrating with family and friends, I’m thinking of the amazing organization I’ve had the good fortune to be involved with: The Red Cross. As a board member, I’m more of an observer to the work done, and am thinking that those words of hope in those Christmas songs are fundamental principles of the global Red Cross Network. The 7 Tenants of this incredible organization completely mirror those wishes. They are:main-fundamental-principles

  1. Humanity: The Red Cross, born of a desire to bring assistance without discrimination to the wounded on the battlefield, endeavors—in its international and national capacity—to prevent and alleviate human suffering wherever it may be found. Its purpose is to protect life and health and to ensure respect for the human being. It promotes mutual understanding, friendship, cooperation and lasting peace among all peoples.
  2. Impartiality: It makes no discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions. It endeavors to relieve the suffering of individuals, being guided solely by their needs, and to give priority to the most urgent cases of distress.
  3. Neutrality: In order to continue to enjoy the confidence of all, the Red Cross may not take sides in hostilities or engage at any time in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.
  4. Independence: The Red Cross is independent. The national societies, while auxiliaries in the humanitarian services of their governments and subject to the laws of their respective countries, must always maintain their autonomy so that they may be able at all times to act in accordance with Red Cross principles.
  5. Voluntary Service:The Red Cross is a voluntary relief movement not prompted in any manner by desire for gain.
  6. Unity: There can be only one Red Cross society in any one country. It must be open to all. It must carry on its humanitarian work throughout its territory.
  7. Universality: The Red Cross is a worldwide institution in which all societies have equal status and share equal responsibilities and duties in helping each other.

Wow…what great principles to live by. What if before we posted on social media, we considered these 7 tenants. What wonderful principles to reflect not only THIS season…but ANY season!

You can support this worthy organization’s mission by making a  year-end, tax-deductible gift to the Red Cross today.

A Meaningful Gift This Christmas

Give Something That Means Something

By Sue Wilson Cordle, Volunteer Leader and Board Member

171203-5770It’s a few days before Christmas, and you can feel the stress. You run in and out of stores aimlessly grabbing items for people you feel you need to buy for; annoyed with yourself that once again you feel the same way this year as you’ve felt in years past:

Why didn’t I start my Christmas shopping earlier?

Why do I spend all this money on gifts that won’t be remembered long after the paper has been ripped from the package?

Is THIS what Christmas is all about?

I’m here to tell you “NO,”  it’s not.

Christmas is special. Whether you celebrate as a religious holiday, a completely secular holiday, or somewhere in-between, most of us have been conditioned to believe (and most of us want to believe) there there is magic to this season. It represents hope for goodwill toward all. Peace in our family, our community, our world. As we end a tumultuous year, we want to believe the  Christmas spirit will heal the hurt that may exist in our lives.

So how can you give a gift that represents that?

This past week gave me an idea. A colleague of mine lost his brother in a tragic accident. Just one week before Christmas; he is gone. Any death is tough, but a sudden death… a week before Christmas? It just puts the mad rush through Target to buy something than means nothing into perspective. I’ve been reading the wonderful things about this man. People are sharing memories, photos and stories of how he affected their lives. All these kind words are being said that this man will never hear, and it made me think: why can’t we say these things now? What kind of gift would it be to post photos, tell stories, and say wonderful things about the people who mean something to us while they can still hear it…and NOT just save it for a funeral?

Inspired by that, I am writing notes to the people I love this year, telling them what I love about them. I am telling them what I would say if they weren’t here, while they still are. And I am enclosing a gift of a donation in their name to a charity I think would mean something to them. If you like that idea, let me suggest a charity worthy of your donation: The Red Cross

If, hypothetically, you were the victim of a house fire, who would be comforting you and your family with a blanket around your shoulders, and guidance to a shelter? Volunteers from The Red Cross. In the event of a  hurricane, flood, or any natural disaster….the Red Cross is there. Need Blood? The Red Cross. Need to get word to a military family member? The Red Cross.

The Red Cross can be there to fill these needs because of the monetary support from donors like you. So if you want to give a meaningful gift that will be remembered long after the chaos of Christmas morning fades, write a letter and tell someone you what you love about them, and make a donation in their name. You can personalize and be specific with this link and gift certificate to include in your card.

And have a Meaningful Merry Christmas!