good life by jason wright
Part of cultivating a good life is celebrating Christmas every single day of the year.
Sound impossible? For most of my life, I certainly thought so. Then, late one evening in October of 2004, I sat beside my wife in our quiet living room and pitched an idea. I explained that I was the most selfish person I knew, and for me, the holidays were mostly a gray and blue fog. Sure, it brightened a bit on Christmas day, but then was hastily packed with the extra wrapping paper and stored back in the basement closet.
Christmas had become a 24-hour holiday and I needed to change. Little did I know that it was exactly that – change – that would change me.
In that simple conversation, I suggested we place an empty mason jar on our kitchen counter and fill it with our spare pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. Everyday when we came home from school, work, the grocery store, or the dry cleaner, each member of the family would drop his or her change in the jar. As we did, we would pause and take a moment to think about the needs of someone else and what the word “give” really means. Finally, when Christmas Eve arrived, we would carefully select a family to give the jar to anonymously.
My wife loved the idea, and before we said goodnight, a pickle jar was washed and placed on the counter. Over the next eight weeks it slowly rose, like a tide of colorful copper, zinc, and nickel. Trust me: when coins clink and clank in a jar, the sound is magical. Something was happening in our home; the spirit of Christmas was palpable.
On Christmas Eve we chose a family a few neighborhoods away and ding dong ditched a jar with almost $100 on their porch. The joy of giving rode home in the mini-van with us and never went away. For the first time in their young lives, my kids knew what Christmas was all about. Oh, who am I kidding, for the first time in my life, I knew what Christmas was all about, too.
A lot has occurred in the ten years since. One more baby joined the gang. A novel was published that changed our lives and launched the writing career I’d always dreamt of. But most importantly, many more Christmas Jars have been given away by my families and thousands more around the world. The book has become a movement. Families have prayed for miracles and rose from their worn out knees to hear knocks at their doors and to discover shadows racing down the street and plump jars of coins on their front steps. Many of these inspiring true stories can be read at www.christmasjars.com.
Over the coming days and weeks, these jars will be given away to families with needs of all kinds: spiritual, emotional and, of course, financial. But as I always say, it’s not what comes out of the jar that matters most – it’s what goes in.
I invite you to take the challenge to experiment with a Christmas Jar. Dedicate your spare change to it and no matter the time of year, the temperature outside, or the size of the jar, you’ll find yourself thinking about the needs of another. You will better appreciate the eternal meaning of the word “give” and how you, too, can celebrate Christmas every day of the year.
Note from Becky
Some of you already know of Jason Wright. Some of you have been deeply touched by reading something he wrote, and I would bet that many of you have even implemented the Christmas Jars tradition in your own life. Jason is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author. He is a weekly columnist for the Deseret News and Northern Virginia Daily, and articles by Jason have appeared in over 50 newspapers and magazines across the United States including The Washington Times, The Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. He is the author of at least 10 books, including Christmas Jars which we feel is a must-read. Just have a tissue on hand. You can find that here on Amazon.