It’s not often that you think of a blind, potbellied pig representing the spirit of Christmas, but the Tribune believes a recent story on a pig does.

Alison Smith, owner of Kitty City animal rescue, learned of an abandoned pig found in an Albert Lea, Minn., residence. The pig, named Wanda, doesn’t have eyes. Smith thinks they were punctured. Wanda is being treated for overgrown hooves and severe infections in both eye sockets.

For many people Wanda wouldn’t seem like a logical rescue project. Kitty City staff thought differently and a volunteer drove more than 500 miles to bring the pig back to Mandan, where she’s getting care.

"We've taken in so many blind animals, and their quality of life is just as every bit of good as a sighted animal," Smith told reporter Blair Emerson. "(Wanda is) getting better, not worse."

It might seem that there are more important matters to spend time and money on than a blind pig. Christmas represents a time of great hope and joy for believers. Drawings of the baby Jesus show the child surrounded not just by people, but by animals. There’s a respect there for all living creatures.

So when Kitty City gives a blind pig the chance for a better quality of life it's taking part in season of giving and sharing. It’s starting with some of the smallest living things on Earth. It’s just one little act of kindness during a season full of sharing.

In another story, reporter Cheryl McCormack told how churches are helping others locally and overseas.

Legacy United Methodist Church members give away half of what they'd normally spend on gifts to worthy causes. This year they are donating to the Ruth Meiers Hospitality House and Watford City's Bakken Oil Rush Ministry.

The Church of the Ascension will serve 450 people in need at its 11th annual Christmas Eve dinner. For some this will be the best meal of the holiday. Everyone attending will receive a wrapped gift.

On Christmas, a team from the Bismarck Community Church will fly to Ethiopia to interact with the children the church sponsors. The church also works with Jeannette Myhre Elementary School during the annual Day of Giving, in which students get to "shop" for presents for parents, siblings and grandparents.

These are just a few examples of what activities congregations across the state are involved in to help others. The activities don’t occur just during Christmas, but the holiday season makes the efforts more special.

For a few weeks every year we are reminded of the pleasure of sharing and giving. There are carolers and bell ringers in stores and other places to provide us with a warm feeling inside despite how cold it might be outside.

Even a blind pig can tug at our hearts. There’s something reassuring to know that even a sickly pig can find caring people and a warm place to stay. There’s truly a special spirit at this time of year.

The Tribune hopes everyone has friends and family and a warm place to celebrate Christmas. That you can enjoy the special meaning of the season.