Monday, November 29, 2010

Some early Christmas thoughts

It's after 4 am and everyone is asleep. Both dogs have taken camp on either side of the couch. A wise man would have been in bed hours ago, or at least looked over at this point and taken the lead from the sleeping pooches. Instead I've just come in from a somewhat crisp walk through the neighbourhood. I did offer to take the dogs, but they barely took their heads off the couch cushion to give me one of their "Are you out of your freakin' mind?" looks.
There is no snow yet, but there are a tonne of Christmas lights. It's gorgeous. I should be complaining that it's not even December and already the halls are decked, it seems to be the common thread amongst the early season nay sayers. Instead I just took it all in and smiled. Sure Christmas is not without it's stresses, but even today, the theme of "Peace on earth, good will toward men" lives on.

When I was a kid, of course it was my favourite holiday.... I mean free presents and Santa never seemed to care that I sometimes watched TV in my room when I was supposed to be sleeping. It was more than that though, it was walking around for a few weeks when everyone was actually being nice to each other. People holding doors for strangers, everyone saying Merry Christmas to each other.. In the malls, on the bus, or just passing each other on the street. It really was magic.

A few years ago, I kind of went through my jaded and bitter phase, My world had recently changed and I was rotating between angry and sad. I noticed that all that merriment had left the season, which added to my particular phase of the time. If I picture myself back then I must have had a perma scowl on my face... a modern day scrooge. I'm sure people avoided me, I would have.

It was around Dec. 22 I think, and I was on a bus on a very cold and snowy day... scowling I'm sure, when a bunch of university students got on the bus, covered with snow, and laughing. I'm not even sure why they were around, most kids had left for home already, but they started singing Carols... It was the most amazing thing, I felt like the Grinch when his heart grew 3 sizes that day. I smiled for the first time in a while, and probably unsuccessfully choked back some tears. 
When I was getting off the bus, one of them looked at me and wished me a Merry Christmas, all I could do was nod in reply.
I got off the bus and looked around, my world was not so bleak,  it was Christmas. It wasn't bitterly cold wind and snowy, it was Christmas snow, the lights were beautiful, and I said Merry Christmas to a perfect stranger and they said it back.
When I took my walk tonight on this crisp November night, I thought of those nameless students and their infectious joy. How they brought the spirit of the season to some random stranger who had almost forgotten how to smile, and I said thank you and Merry Christmas to them where ever they may be.

Yes some will say that Christmas is thrust upon us way to soon(the day after Halloween), and others will lament how commercial it's become....But how we see the season is up to us, and how we treat each other, even the strangers, is what will make the season great.

Yes, Peace on earth, good will toward men lives on, and I for one am very grateful for an early start to the season.

Peace Kiddies

Friday, November 19, 2010

It's Rememberance Day every day.

It was Remembrance Day in Canada last week, a day set aside to pause and reflect, to remember those who gave their all for the freedoms that we enjoy, and just as importantly, a day for our nation to stand up and with one voice, say Thank you to those brave men and women who are still with us, and a silent thank you in our hearts for those who are not. 
I am humbled to tears when I think of the sacrifices made so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we have. I am also swollen with Pride when I think of our soldiers abroad who would make the same sacrifices so that others can experience, perhaps for the first time, those same freedoms.
Like most Canadians though, while I appreciate the day being set aside to honour our Heroes,  I am on a daily basis reminded and grateful for those seemingly simple things of life, that came at such a high price.
Every time that I vote(and I always do), I have a silent prayer of gratitude in my heart, for those who fought so that I could have this freedom. When I walk into church, again, a prayer of gratitude for that freedom, or choosing a school for my children, having the ability to disagree with my government. Walking into a grocery store with full shelves, or buying as much gas as I can afford. The ability to read any book that I choose, or being innocent until proven guilty.
There are so many blessings to living in this great country of ours and every one of them came at a price. A price that was paid for by those who fought for us and by those left at home.

Oh Canada, We Stand on Guard for thee, and our soldiers, stood and stand on guard for us, and we are forever grateful.