Have you ever heard something that just sticks with you, whether you choose to remember it or not?
As it relates to Christmas and this festive, family time of year, it's always been an exciting, energetic season in my world. There's never really been any dire need or search for additional profoundness.
It walked right through the front door anyway, about two or three years ago as I remember it. It's no great discovery of mine but merely a question posed by someone I find very worth listening to.
One Sunday a few Decembers ago, Father Mark Tarrant, pastor at St. John Brebeuf parish raised this idea about the coming Christmas celebration: "What stirs your soul?"
As I recall, he didn't take credit for the theme; it was a question put to him by a colleague, something that obviously resonated.
And still does. It's become a key question stuck in my head.
The religious element can be the point but more to the heart of it, a good and decent citizen can simply ask and answer it in a personal, everyday context for himself/herself.
Of course, the answers will be many, but the one that brings so much focus to the Christmas season for me and the reason sports editor Steve Lyons agreed to share his Spirit of Christmas column space with me this week, is generosity.
The spirit of giving, especially when you are able, is one thing that puts so much meaning into the season.
We are blessed in this area, especially in the sports community, for we have many generous stories, generous people and generous events that stir our souls.
We have athletes and teams that inspire us.
We have a new team -- I'll confess that rather selfishly, after hearing Father Mark that day a few Decembers ago, it led me to wonder if we'd soon get another chance to see how an NHL team could stir the souls of Winnipeggers -- and we have plenty of new and newer toys, like arenas and stadiums and ballparks.
There are so many generous people who do so much to pump life into our sports community, both professional and amateur, and they often infect us to participate, to add what we can, even in the simple act of fandom.
The act of sharing without obligation and without keeping account can be very uplifting.
Uplifted and enthused -- those are the kinds of feelings every sports fan craves, without sometimes realizing they can be self-generated.
It can be so soul-stirring to share and to give. You may even find it's contagious.
A respected friend and a member of our sports community, for instance, for years has sent along an exceptionally generous donation to The Spirit of Christmas fund so that the Free Press and all of you can help the Christmas Cheer Board help those who have the simplest of needs.
And without fail, anonymity is insisted upon, for it's at the very heart of this person's generous and kind nature. And it never earns any recognition (apart from this cagey and heartfelt thank-you), which is also the point.
In sports, though, we are happy to hand out credit if that will stir you to help us. We'll be glad to include your name, acknowledging a contribution, in our next published The Spirit of Christmas list.
Please send your donations to The Spirt of Christmas, c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg R2X 3B6. Here are this week's contributors; they have the Spirit:
In memory of Gordon & Kay Nordgren$300.00
In memory of Orville & Flo McLennan
In memory of Allan & Bea McLennan
William H. Gray$200.00
In memory of Gordon &Inez Davidson $50.00
Jerry & Gerry Ilchyna$125.00
In memory of Bradley Drake$50.00
Frederick & Josephine Olsen$50.00
from my grandchildren
Ian & Evelyn Hamilton$200.00
In memory of Ann & Pete Lysy,$500.00
Louise & Charles Allard
In memory of Jim Register &$100.00
In memory of Tom McClusky$100.00
Manitoba Major Junior Hockey$200.00
G. & Mary Smith$75.00
In memory of Norman &$400.00
Knights of Columbus$200.00
St. Anne Council No. 10551
Ron & Roslyn Westman$50.00
Pam & Richard Craig$50.00
M. D. Rae$50.00
Mr. & Mrs. Gordon D. Johnson$234.50
Brenda & Jim Smith$50.00
Douglas & Mary Cobb$55.00
St. Nicholas Men's Club$150.00
In memory of Wally Norquay$50.00
In memory of Doug McRorie$50.00
Patrick J. Clarke$100.00
Earle & Catharine Ferguson$50.00
In memory of Gerry Varnes Jr.$100.00
Sangster's Health Centre$50.00
Cam & Maxine Brown$100.00
Bob & Helen Fraser$50.00
Marge & Gary Campbell$100.00
V. F. McKenzie$100.00
In memory of Katie McNeill,$100.00
In memory of Agnes, John, Alyce, Danny Young$80.00
In memory of Bea McSkimmings$20.00
In memory of Gayle Staniul$20.00
In memory of Cil Chandler$20.00
In memory of David Deally$60.00
In memory of Charlie (Chuck) Gardiner$50.00
In memory of Mary, John, Edith,$50.00
In memory of Fred Effie &$50.00
In memory of Jim & A.J. Burkett$50.00
Five Holers Hockey$400.00
In memory of Adam & Gary Ruff$20.00
Victoria Senior Mens Curling$235.00
Albert T. Shipman$150.00
Voute Holdings Inc.$300.00
Mr. & Mrs. Daniel Todd$200.00
Marcel & Jeannine Pineau$100.00
Norwood Rebekah Lodge No. 42$166.00
Lions Club of Winnipeg$200.00
GSU Local 50057 of PSAC of Canada$500.00
Barbara & John Dempster$100.00
Wpg. Free Press Editorial$680.00
Dept. Christmas Party
Newsroom Book & DVD Sale$1,424.00
Winnipeg Minor Bantam Twins
Hockey Team $257.00
St. James Xmas Lunch Grp.$100.00
In memory of Jim$100.00
In memory of Daniel Regnier$50.00
Reuben & Beatrice Priddle$50.00
Lance Fridfinnson & Mandy Bachynski$100.00
Emile & Lorraine Lambert$50.00
In memory of Ken Ingram$25.00
In memory of Raymond Perrault$30.00
B & L Homes for Children Ltd.$50.00
In memory of Bill Levy$50.00
In memory of Fred, Dean & June O'Connell$20.00
In memory of Emile Campbell &$20.00
George & Gladys Oelkers$400.00
The MacDonald Family$250.00
Reno Insurance Brokers Ltd.$100.00
Dr. & Mrs. J. E. Walli$50.00
Manitoba Golf Superintendents Assoc.$400.00
In memory of Bruce Barr$100.00
Rossmere Lanes YBC
Mon. Golden Age$95.75
Mon. River East Transcona Teachers$23.00
Mon. Eastwood Mixed$85.25
Mon. Night Football$41.25
Tues. North Kildonan Ladies$61.50
Tues. East Kildonan Ladies$59.00
Tues. Second Century$31.50
Wed. Riverside Homemakers$43.25
Wed. Letter Carriers Mixed$103.75
Thurs. Early Birds$71.75
Thurs. Rossmere Melrose Ladies$43.00
Thurs. EK Seniors Mixed$108.50
Thurs. Tartens Mixed$27.00
Thurs. Metro Mixed$53.50
Thurs. Holy Eucharist$24.25
Fri. Golden Age$55.75
Fri. Night Live$72.00
Sat. Youth Bowling Canada$163.50
John S. Russell$100.00
Craig & Mary Fardoe$75.00
Elaine & Glen Volkmar$25.00
Rod & Iron Assoc.$150.00
St. Pauls Anglican Church ACW Grp.$101.00
In memory of A. R. Winser$100.00
In memory of Cal Kukelko &$100.00
Dave & Gwen Smith$50.00
In memory of Virginia Tate$30.00
In memory of Don & Todd Stevens$50.00
In memory of Bob & Helen Hansford,$200.00
Cornie & Kathy Ginter
In memory of Muffin$40.00
In memory of Frank &$25.00
In memory of Bryan Tait$25.00
John & Gisele Walker$100.00
Rene & Michele Bouchard$150.00
In memory of Neil Boughton$50.00
Rock Solid C.C. Special Olympics MB.$50.00
Past Presidents' Assoc. of$50.00
Manitoba Curling Clubs
Past Presidents' Assoc. of$50.00
Deer Lodge Curling Club
In memory of Lil Stevens$25.00
Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities$30,000.00
Grant Thornton LLP$391.00
Anonymous (nine donations)$2,165.00
Today's tota: l$48,653.25
Previous total: $23,610.75
Grand total: $72,264.00