What follows are a few ideas for gifts you can give yourself for Christmas while helping others as well.
1. Friends of Silence: I mentioned this group with its free e-newsletter not long ago. They are a community, founded by Nan Merrill nearly 25 years ago, and centered now in a 1500-acre wilderness preserve in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains of West Virginia called Rolling Ridge Study Retreat. To learn more and to get their newsletter, which allows me free membership in a community of people who believe that the contemplative life is possible without leaving this busy world, go to www.rollingridge.net.
2. Gratefulness: David Steindl-Rast, whose books have opened many spiritual doors for me and others, is a Benedictine monk responsible for the Network for Grateful Living. To learn more about restoring gratitude in a fast-paced world, see www.gratefulness.org. Just to know there is a website devoted to gratitude as a key element in prayer, as an exercise in mindfulness, is important.
3. The Hunger Site: Several years ago a friend put me onto Thehungersite.com. I learned that my daily click on this website will generate a cup of food for the needy of the world, thanks to the sponsors who adverstise their earth-friendly products on the site. It's totally free. In the second it takes for me to go to this site and click each day, I have been able to generate thousands of cups of rice and other food for the world's hungry.
If everyone reading this made a click on the Hunger Site every day and told their friends, many would benefit. It costs almost nothing.
For me, the daily click begins my involvement with the Internet; it is a way to slow down and become prayerful. It is a wonderful means of becoming mindful about needs other than my own. I recommend it.