December 21, 2012. I had no way to know that my most extraordinary Christmas gift would be a present I can’t taste or feel or smell? I will never wear it or set it on a shelf to admire. It won’t be a cherished addition to a beloved collection. In fact, it’s the only gift of its kind I have ever received. And yet it’s the one that, even though I won’t even keep it, will give me boundless joy for years to come.
Christmas is the only season, the only holiday, with the power to change us. Think about it. During Christmas, every harried shopper, young or old, is focused on finding something special for someone else. It’s the time of the year when we are one in our desire to serve, please, surprise and delight others. If we’re lucky, many others. What a wonder Christmas is.
What makes Christmas magical is that it enables us to rediscover our capacity to charm and amaze—to literally transform—our fellow man. All of us carry the power within us. It’s standard equipment for humankind, built-in and hard-wired.
What’s amazing to me is the astonishing might of Christmas to temporarily remake virtually every single one of us into charitable, giving beings. Call it the Christmas spirit. Even more amazing is its absolutely predictable departure on or about January 1 each year.
Part of the wonder of my gift this year is that it has become the seed of an outrageous conspiracy to hold the Christmas spirit permanently captive. Oh, I know it sounds like a cliché. But stay tuned. We are so blessed, and we intend to report to you from time to time on how we are giving back all year long.
Of course, we have always found small ways to help throughout the year, however, we are now working to find organizations for whom our passion, time and talents can forge differences that count . . . and keep on counting. This year, my beloved Maestonauts gave me not a gift, but a transfusion of giving. Because they saw this season in its truest, most pure form, their gift is the first link in a chain reaction of love that will heal, nourish, cleanse and inspire perhaps thousands of people I will never meet. For these unseen brothers and sisters, Christmas may actually arrive in March or June. Perhaps in late summer or early fall of the coming year. But it will come.
And when it does, it will be as a miracle we take for granted, launching ripples of hope to wash against the shores of more distant souls than we can comprehend. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, you gentle Maestro giants large and small. It is my privilege to call you team members, my honor to number you as friends.
The gift: A generous contribution my team made in my name to charity: water, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing clean water to the 800 million people of the world who do not have it.