Ted McMeekin, MPP for Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough, Westdale.
I hear people griping that there’s no escape from Christmas carols in the stores… and I see people happily singing along. Sometimes they’re the same people.
Christmas gives rise to so many emotions.
We sing of “peace on Earth, good will to all,” yet hostilities continue…and in the busy-ness of the season, it often seems there is no peacefulness in our own lives.
Families whose lives may keep them apart through much of the year come together at Christmas to share their love…and those who have lost a parent, a child, a spouse or a close friend feel the pain of separation all the more deeply.
At Christmas I can indulge my sentimental side. I love the moment in It’s a Wonderful Life when George Bailey shares a tender moment with his youngest daughter, Zuzu. You know the scene? She’s won a beautiful flower but is sad that some petals have fallen off. George turns his back, sticks the fallen petals in his pocket, rearranges the flower and then gives it back to Zuzu, “good as new.”
How often have I wished for the ability to bring comfort as easily as George does for Zuzu, soothing her to sleep with dreams of flowers? Most real life problems aren’t so easily resolved. Still, I cherish that film for its message of hope.
Christmas is more complicated than it was when I was younger. Those of us who celebrate the birth of Jesus are learning to make room for those of our neighbours whose traditions may be different.
And we sometimes bristle at the commercialization of Christmas, but this rarely stops us from shopping.
Almost 400 years ago, a poet wrote words that I think can speak to us all, whatever our beliefs:
If in your heart you make a manger for his birth
Then God will once again become a child on Earth.
In that spirit, may I invite all of us to consider – in whatever words will have meaning for us – how our actions this holiday season can help make room for the
presence of the divine among us.
Give an extra hug to a friend, for no reason at all.
Choose an organization that makes a difference in your community and see how you can help. Volunteer if you’re able. If you have no time, money will do.
Think of a friend who may be lonely at this time of year and reach out with a phone call or a dinner invitation.
If faith is part of your tradition, be sure to connect with your place of worship and join them in caring for the broader community.
Put a little George Bailey into your Christmas, in other words. Because the miraculous truth is that the more we reach out to others, the more we come to realize it really is a wonderful life. All the best this holiday season.