Holiday spirit: Humanity and tolerance bring us together

Terrence (centre right) with Oldham College students on the day they brought him a Christmas tree.

Last week, a story which really captures the spirit of the season – people coming together to help those most in need – really inspired and amazed me.

The BBC told the story of Terrence, a pensioner who has spent the last 20 Christmases on his own since his mother passed away. In an attempt to give him a Christmas to remember, students from Oldham College surprised him by delivering a tree and decorating it.

Many of these students were from our community and were determined that Terrence should not feel alone. It was a moment of pure kindness and togetherness; not just for Terrence but for the entire community.

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It’s great to shine a light on stories like this, because I know that this is happening in our community all the time. It made me feel really proud to witness their generosity and like many others I was moved to tears by the mutual respect between generations, religions and cultures.

It shows us that at special times of the year, it is our humanity and tolerance of others that brings us together. Even if we don’t celebrate each other’s religious festivals, when we reach out to each other during these times, we strengthen our own identity and faith.

Sometimes a moment can capture a feeling perfectly and the reaction it stirs in people is immediate and powerful. This story went viral on social media, a testament to the desire we all have for connection in spite of messages we hear to the contrary

Those young students represent the best in us: thoughtful, caring, and charitable. Their kind act shows us not just what the holiday season is about, but also reminds us of the opportunities that are all around us – to help others and be part of building a strong and open society.

Suleman Nagdi

December 2019

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