December 25. “We may not be able to do any great things, but if each of us will do something, however small it may be, a good deal will be accomplished.” (D. L. Moody)
In the late 1980s, George H.W. Bush gave several speeches where he referred to the various volunteer organizations in the US as a “thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky.” Sadly, I remember that cynical, politically motivated pundits and humorists derided the speech and mocked the notion. It made me sad that happened because for me, I found the idea to be very inspirational. The idea behind President Bush’s speech was that each of us can contribute our time, effort and money in small ways to bring about a huge cumulative effect.
We do not have to make grand gestures to make a difference in the world. When each of us does small things, it adds up quickly. When I was with the Boy Scouts I participated in the “Can Do” campaign. The Scouts would distribute plastic bags around the neighborhoods asking people to contribute canned goods to help feed the hungry. On a particular Saturday morning, we would drive the boys around the neighborhoods to pick up the bags that were left on front porches. Most of the bags that we distributed were never seen again, but a few were picked up on each street. Each bag may only have had a small number of cans, and would seem fairly insignificant. One year I worked at the collection center packaging the bags into boxes to be sent to a food pantry. Despite the low rate of bags being set out, and small number of cans in each, that center was hopping with activity. For just my suburb, we filled a sizable truck with boxed cans. I wish I had been the shutterbug then that I am now, because it would have been very inspirational to have a shot of all those boxes together, the result of the small points of light in our neighborhood.
I could sit here and tell many stories of how people volunteering in small doses added up to great contributions.
This morning is Christmas. Our minds today are full of joy and love for one another as we exchange gifts, and attend parties. Let us all remember as we are attacking the packages and bows, eager to see what goodies await, that there are others who need our help. My family exchanged gifts last night, and with my weight loss this year there were a lot of clothes for me. I know that in the coming week I will be going through my closet and drawers and preparing a clothing donation. The few bags I donate won’t clothe all those in need, but they will help some, and I will be contributing to President Bush’s thousand points of light.