The elusiveness of world peace gets in the way, sometimes, of our ability to appreciate how wonderful the world really is. Here in our country, a large percentage of us have been caught up in our own celebration of a starry night, a message of unconditional love and acceptance of our fellow human beings. And, we get caught up, too, in the ring-ring of the cash register in ‘celebration’ of the season.
And so, looking at our Christmas, Solstice, Hannukah, Renewal celebrations, we might all benefit from less ‘cha-ching!’ I end up feeling so sorry for weary retail sales people who are on their feet all day and have to be back at it less than 24 hours after they’ve turned off the lights and gone home to wrap their own gifts.
Whatever your celebration was, I hope it included people you love.
I thought I might share some high points and invite you to email me some of yours so we can enlarge the circle of goodness…
My daughter and I spent an afternoon helping out at Christmas Cheer. I arrived with my exacto knife, ready to break down cardboard boxes for recycling (not a glamorous job, but contributory nonetheless). I ended up, though, in Irene Perri’s Toy Story, a shopping mecca of donated toys and shopping bags all coded for genders, ages of children with numbered families. ‘Shop generously,’ coaxed Irene, as we browsed among tables laden with good things, all labelled for gender and age appropriateness.
On top of all this good karma, imagine my feelings to find a cotton drawstring bag which, when opened, released a doll with hand sewn and knitted clothes, right down to the matching hat. What wonderful person produced this, I wondered, as it was clearly hand-made. And lo, there was a whole box of them… bags and bags of dolls wearing hand made clothes, all done with love. And all done anonymously. Thank you, kind soul with the knitting needles and sewing machine. To make all the clothes and all the bags and just bring them in anonymously is truly unconditional love in action.
As I exclaimed delight over this find, another volunteer heralded another box full of hand knitted little characters… simply done but with defined legs, arms, faces, hats. Dozens of them! An infant could grab hold effectively and have nothing that would tug off to hurt them! Goodness. And all made by one kind soul.
And then the bikes, trikes, scooters… the incredible room full of riding toys for kids, the project of Georgian College students. My whole self filled with goose-flesh.
And food arrived by the truckloads, eager volunteers there to sort it. And over in the corner, checking his lists, was Ernie Nullmeyer, himself as a child the recipient of a Christmas box. Things happen for a reason, and the Nullmeyer¹s hard times have turned into 25 years of community generosity, mobilized through the energy of this man.
Elsewhere, goodness prevailed as the Salvation Army received wonderful expressions of care. Clothes, toys, practical items like gift certificates allowed them to give their clients a meaningful celebration of this season. Goodness.
And then dozens of volunteers turned out to Collier Church to serve Christmas Dinner for Out of the Cold. A gift, a hot meal, a smile, and the words, ‘Merry Christmas’ spoken from the heart, done with the deed. Goodness.
Throughout the Barrie area, people were hitting the pause button to turn their attention to someone who needed them in some way. Goodness.
And lo! it’s nearly 1 am on Christmas Eve and my friend Rick has just called from Calgary. He and his family are snowed in. Flight to Pearson cancelled because of our storm, he and his family have been shipped off to a hotel. Could we help out? Pick up the three dogs at the kennel and keep them til early Christmas Morning when they arrive in Toronto (hopefully). Yes, that’s all. Another friend is picking up their turkey. Yet another friend doing the grocery shop. Because my friend Rick is hosting Christmas for his entire family. From a hotel room in Calgary, here’s a man counting on goodness.
We won’t let him down.
We have so much. We have so much capacity for loving in worthwhile ways.
Thank you for your individual contribution to this wonderful community. We are blessed.