12/10/2014 11:13 am ET Updated Feb 09, 2015

The Most Empowering Gift

Christmastime is once again upon us. The excitement and laughter of children, festive holiday music and aroma of wonderful Christmas candy fills the air with an uplifting spirit that is rarely ever experienced except during this special time of year. As we go through our busy holiday rituals, frantically shopping for Christmas gifts, attending magnificent celebrations and preparing our homes for the big day, it is extremely important that we remember what the Christmas holiday is really all about.

For many people, Christmas means mountains of beautifully wrapped presents under the tree, millions of twinkling lights decorating houses up and down the street, colorful stockings hanging by the fireplace and an abundance of wonderful holiday food and drink to feast upon. It means receiving bright and cheerful Christmas cards in the mail from loved ones far away, and family celebrations and get-togethers with friends. It is a special time of year during which our hearts are filled with love, peace and hope for a better tomorrow. Unfortunately, the magnificent magic of Christmas doesn't always reach out to everyone.

For some, the holiday season is a time of great sorrow. The beautiful gifts, twinkling lights, stockings and feasts are merely wishes that will be granted for someone else. Christmas cards are few and far between, and their hearts ache for the loved ones who cannot come home to participate in the festivities for various reasons. It is during the holiday season that many people become frustrated, saddened, and are often left feeling empty and alone. It is during this time that we must help these people find the peace and joy that Christmastime is all about.

This Christmas, challenge yourself, your friends, your family members and your neighbors to give the most empowering Christmas gift of all to others in your community: compassion. This magnificent gift is the most versatile present you will ever find. It comes in all shapes and sizes, and it is something everybody needs. Take a few extra minutes to visit that older lady down the street who doesn't seem to have many guests. Sit with that lonely man at the local coffee shop during your lunch break. Leave a few extra dollars on the table for that waitress who is struggling to feed her children. Deliver gifts and maybe even a care package to the doorstep of that single father who is struggling to make ends meet. "Adopt" a less fortunate child, or if your budget allows, an entire family and present them with Christmas gifts. Offer words of encouragement and support to that coworker who is stressed with things at home.

Whether you choose to purchase material gifts for those who are less fortunate this Christmas, or you simply give words of encouragement and understanding to those who are lonely or struggling, your compassion for others is destined to make a difference in the lives of those around you.