Finding ways to help others better than gifts

Freedom New Mexico

Give thanks to God during Christmas and as we head toward and New Year’s Day. These are good times, and here’s why:

• All over the country, people are walking into retail stores and paying off layaway items for perfect strangers. ABC’s “Nightline” on Tuesday featured a video from our sister paper, the Orange County Register, that showed a family in tears after going to retrieve layaway Christmas presents — having scrounged together just enough cash — only to find that some anonymous donor had paid the bill. It’s called the “Secret Santa” phenomenon. If you can, find some other way to commit a random act of anonymous kindness for strangers. Find a way to create the collective Santa and make this world a better place.

• A nationally broadcast commercial for Progressive Insurance features its popular male hero, The Messenger, feeding expired meters in downtown Colorado Springs.

“With the hundreds I’ve saved at Progressive, this meter is on me,” The Messenger says.

Do as The Messenger does. If you can afford to, feed meters as you walk past them. Spending a dime, to save someone $25, serves as a random act of kindness by a stranger, for a stranger. It makes our world a better place.

• Tim Tebow has become among the country’s A-list celebrities for doing good deeds. It’s like Mother Teresa in the backfield. He donated his $2.5 million signing bonus, along with funds he has helped raise, to build a children’s hospital in the Philippines. He visits prison inmates and inspires them with talks. He doesn’t booze it up and get arrested. He humbles himself to God. He is a hero to children. He makes the world a better place.

• A Colorado Springs woman’s car was stolen from the parking lot of her apartment complex and stripped for parts. It was also stripped of the gifts she had hidden in the trunk for her 7-year-old daughter. The woman had no money to replace the gifts, so Christmas looked dim for the girl. When word got out, members of the community stepped forward — mostly in anonymous fashion — to make sure the girl would have Christmas and the family would recover from the crime. The donors made this world a better place.

This is a great country of people who look out for one another without attaching strings. Examples are endless, and we’ve listed only those that first popped into our heads. Yet, some people will still be hungry, giftless and/or alone through the holiday season.

Freedom’s editorial board encourages everyone — the poor, the middle class and particularly the rich — to find a way to give. Take inspiration from Secret Santas. Donate to the Empty Stocking Fund. Or take inspiration from Tebow and donate a corporate bonus. Take inspiration from a TV ad, as even a dime or quarter can go a long way toward helping another person get through the day. Find someone who has been wronged, and try to make things right.

To those who give selflessly, the holiday season is nothing less than a joyous occasion.