The ringing is incessant and then becomes a silent part of the constant din of noise – cars starting and driving off, and people hurrying by, captured in constant conversation about the last or next shopping destination. And there I stand, most of the times in the cold – always ringing the little brass bell.

I volunteer through my Rotary Club to ring the Salvation Army bell each year. Each year I hesitate to sign up for a couple of hours of standing in the cold. Each year I think of hundreds of other things I could be doing instead, and each year I sign-up to ring that little bell.

It happens to me every year. Somehow, as people walk by – a variety of faces, ages, economic classes – I see them acknowledge the bell and the bucket and what it represents: the presence of charity in our world. And as slowly and steadily breath brings life into my lungs, each time I speak to the passersby “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas” I feel that elusive spirit of Christmas enter into my spirit and I know that beneath and behind all of the trappings of the holiday, people know , need and seek the blessing of Charity.

The ringing of that bell is when I find Christmas, every year and this year, on December 17th, I will did it again. Merry Christmas!