Sharing Hope

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I think it only fitting that the host of our first Nashville area Seniors Christmas ShinnDig was legendary area broadcaster, Hope Hines. He has a great personality and positive attitude that fits his name perfectly.

I think that hope is a great description for the ShinnDig as well. The reason I started putting on a special event for seniors thirty years ago in Charlotte, North Carolina, was something my mom told me. She said, “George, there are a lot of seniors that get forgotten and neglected—and they especially feel it during the Christmas season.”

Our Nashville attendees looked like a pretty happy group of people. And my hope—there’s that word again—is that everyone who showed up already felt loved and appreciated. But I just know in a crowd that size (we had more than 800 in attendance the first year), there were some wonderful folks that needed a place and time to laugh, to be with friends and meet new friends, and get a hug to feel loved and lift their spirit. I know for sure that as I worked the crowd, shaking hands, meeting so many great people, and giving out hugs, I felt a special blessing in my own life.

Christmas 2014 is upon us and by the time you read this it might already be over. But I want to encourage you to slow down and really embrace your friends and family—and even the acquaintances and strangers you bump into. Smile. Listen. Encourage. Be generous with hugs! Just be there. Not just during the holiday season, but all year long.

One of the greatest comedians who ever lived was Bob Hope. He appeared in more than seventy films, had his own TV show, hosted the Academy Awards more than any other person, and wrote a number of bestselling books. He is perhaps best known for his commitment to the USO. Over the course of five decades, he did fifty-seven tours to entertain American active military personnel that couldn’t be home for the holidays with a simple message that they weren’t forgotten. They were loved. In other words, he gave them a word of hope. His name described exactly what he brought to our troops.

In one interview he made a great comment about why he worked so hard this time of year for five decades: “My idea of Christmas is very simple; loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that.”

I say a hearty “Amen” to that simple but profound word of wisdom, Mr. Hope. I hope you agree, too.

Loving others is what brings hope to the world, at Christmas and all year long.

George Shinn was raised by his mother in Kannapolis, North Carolina, in the most modest—and optimistic—of circumstances. “It’s hard to be poor when you don’t feel poor!” He has had the pluck and drive to build numerous successful companies and is best known as the founder of the Charlotte Hornets NBA franchise—an undertaking most pundits said wasn’t possible. George’s life motto is “you gotta believe!” The George Shinn Foundation is dedicated to helping people in need and building God’s Kingdom.