Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Reflections

I didn’t think I had a Christmas message this year but it turns out I do. No epiphany this time, just a simple thought. The Christmas frenzy is finally settling into the Christmas calm. It is a time to reflect. For many Christmas is an emotional time of year. For those who have lost loved ones or those who don’t have family to gather with it can indeed be a lonely and sad time.

Yet even when families gather conflict can often result. The recent news of a distraught father throwing his son off of a building before he jumped to his death is disturbing to say the least. It is heart wrenching. Yes there is more to life.

Of course my Christmas message centres on Janice Shore. Christmas without Janice. Most of us didn’t even know Janice although many of us met her in passing as she pan handled in Surrey. Then all of a sudden she was gone. Like so many others we notice then wonder what ever happened to. Sadly, Janice met a brutally violent end. Yet her life did not end at death. As Martin Luther King declared man is more than a whirling vagabond of elections, man is a child of God.

I’ve heard it said, yeah well I don’t believe in God. I’ve also heard it said, that’s OK, he believes in you. Yet even if we take the nativity and the divinity out of Christmas, there still remains a magical spirit of good will that transcends human pride. The idea of the first Santa that started a tradition of giving gifts. You don’t have to be religious to have a desire to give a gift or make life better for someone less fortunate. Indeed, no matter how bad we have it, there is always someone worse off. It’s like the saying I used to feel sorry for myself because I had no shoes until I met someone with no feet.

This Christmas our thoughts are drawn to those in Eastern Canada who are having Christmas without power. A cozy thought at first until we realize it means without heat. Like the image of being homeless at Christmas. You don’t have to be religious to have a desire to house the homeless or to reach out to those who suffer.

Recently a friend sent me a virtual Christmas card that contained the age old adage “Peace on earth and good will to all.” Peace on earth, what a concept. War seems to never end. Not just your typical tyrants but wars for oil and opium as well. Times have changed but greed hasn’t. Good will to all. Another sentimental concept. Yet good will can exist in our materialistic world if we want it to. It just involves that simple act of thinking of someone other than ourselves.

With all this talk of men beating their wives or girlfriends, we are drawn to contemplate what it would take to repair that broken self image that causes a man to beat a woman. After all we know that a poor self image is the root cause of domestic abuse. He who loves his wife loves himself. He who beats his wife does not.

Giving the homeless free crack and beating the life out of them for payment after the fact so you can drive a new SUV is predatory. It is not showing good will to all. Good will is indeed something to reflect upon as we continue this sojourn called life. And as we mourn the loss of loved ones this Christmas let’s light a candle in their memory. Life does not end a death. Just ask Ozzy.

On one memorial facebook group someone posted this picture with the caption that implies Christmas in heaven is here spent with us. I believe that. One day we all will be resurrected and judged. Until then when we die our spirits go to the spirit world which many believe is right here. Many believe that our loved ones aren’t far from us and feel our pain and our sorrow. I believe that.

I took my son to a candle light Christmas Eve service last night. The Protestant version of a midnight mass. I remember growing up being told that Protestants have an empty cross symbolizing that Christ has risen. Catholics have Christ on the cross remembering his suffering. I respect both. Focusing on his resurrection is good yet so is remembering his suffering. It reminds me of the scripture in Isaiah 49:14-16 when God responds to those who feel he has forgotten them. He tells them I have graven thee on the palms of my hand. Thy walls are continually before me.

It has been said that for the final hours Christ hung on the cross, all the horrifying pains of Gethsemane returned where he saw and felt all the pain and suffering of the world. Indeed he has graven our pain in the palms of his hands and our struggles are continually before him.

You’ve got to admit the architecture and the paintings in the Catholic cathedrals is pretty amazing. As I said before, a Protestant girl I dated just out of high school took me to Notre Dame in Montreal once where she put some money in a box and lit a candle for one of her deceased ancestors. I still think that is a wonderful tradition. It certainly won’t kill you to walk into a Catholic church and light a candle. It might however, open your eyes and break down some barriers of pride and prejudice which can only be good. Notre Dame in Montreal and Saint Paul's in London are well worth visiting for any tourist from any faith or lack thereof.

O Holy Night - Trans-Siberian Orchestra

The Ghosts Of Christmas Eve

Christmas Canon Rock - Surrey what?!

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