It seems that Christmas is arriving earlier every year. The Halloween decorations are not even down and the neighborhood mall is setting up Santa’s Village.
I can recall when Remembrance Day would pass and the following weekend store decorations would go up and it wasn’t until Dec. 1 that you could count on hearing Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” on CHML.
But I must confess that this year the anticipation of the season has arrived early for me. Perhaps it’s the fact that at Mission Services we start to prepare for Christmas Care just after New Year’s Day. Phone calls are made to potential toy donors and the media is contacted letting them know how many people we have served and how many we plan to serve in the coming Christmas season.
Maybe it was my absence from the mission for a few weeks which amplified the tone but the quiet joy and magic of Christmas has permeated the soul of everyone here and you can truly sense the anticipation of the season.
The line ups at the mission are extensive this year; need has increased by over 30 per cent. However, we remain confident that strong community support will enable us to meet the increased need and ensure that this Christmas brings a sense of renewed hope to the thousands of people who come to our doors every year.
Hope is a priceless gift, and it brings the thought of a better year to come.
As a child the most significant thing about Christmas was my stocking. Would Santa come and fill it this year? What would he leave under the Christmas tree for me?
But as the years pass Christmas takes on a new meaning, a refocus on family, friends and how richly you have been blessed. The gifts become secondary and the true meaning of Christmas is revealed.
Christmas is about the birth of a child, in a remote village, in a backward Roman protectorate of Judea over 2,000 years ago. And yet that legacy of unconditional love, kindness, caring and salvation remains a characteristic of our mission to this very day.
The front line staff of Mission Services provides unconditional love and service 365 days of the year, not just Christmas Day.
This Christmas don’t be discouraged with shop decorations in October or Santa Claus making sales pitches in early November. Simply recall the magic of that first Christmas in Bethlehem and find comfort that the real reason for Christmas is alive and well at Mission Services in Hamilton.
From everyone at Mission Services may I wish you and your loved ones a joyous and blessed Christmas Season.
P.S. We hope to provide Christmas Care to over 1,000 households this year.
— Barry Coe is Director of Community Relations and Resource Development for Mission Services