The season of goodwill is here and on Thursday Christians across the world will celebrate Christmas. For many there will be gifts under the tree, tables laden with festive treats, the company of family and friends, and a chance to unwind.
But spare a thought for those who will not spend the day like this: either because they cannot afford to, or because their Christmas must be away from home – protecting our citizens, policing roads, caring for the sick, feeding the poor, keeping essential services operating and watching over beach bathers.
At Christmas every year, countless South Africans spend the day with colleagues – staffing police stations, hospital wards and emergency rooms, medical, sea and fire rescue services, soup kitchens, and more.
There are also those who may not be Christian who ease the burden of the commitment at this time of the year by stepping in to offer a helping hand, either in volunteering to free up others who would rather be at home, or in providing food parcels to the poor.
In a world that has come to define itself by separate groupings and divisions, the individuals in such organisations show an ability to rise above themselves in identifying and addressing the needs of others.