At this time of year, I can get pretty sentimental, thinking of the past, and those I’ve loved and lost along the way. They may not be here to share the joy of this time, but in another way they still are, as I continue to hold them in my heart.
I’m counting my blessings as we hope to celebrate this Christmas with
our two beautiful daughters, their spouses and three grandchildren. I say hope, as there’s an ice storm in Toronto and the youngest grandchild has chicken pox. So, traveling from the east to Vancouver Island, where we live, will be a challenge.
I’m also mindful that at this time of year, it’s easy to forget
—with all the running around for that perfect gift, or planning for parties, dinners, etc.—the true meaning of Christmas. It seems every year we get further away from the Christmas story and the promise within it: peace and good will toward all men.
Though Rob and I, and our eldest grandchild, Michael—he’s the filmmaker—are no longer regular church goers, our two granddaughters are still active at Church of the Holy Trinity in Toronto. They play their parts in that church’s Christmas Story, as they’ve done every year since they were babies. When they were that tiny, they played baby Jesus. When they were older, shepherds, pages and angels.
This season also reminds me of Christmases past. When our daughters were still at home, we’d celebrate Christmas Eve with a bible reading of the Holy birth, followed by a reading from the book, A Northern Nativity. In it, the stories were illustrated by Ukrainian Canadian painter William Kurelek, who depicted Jesus as white, black or first nations—born in a boxcar, an igloo, or a shack. After the readings, we’d sing Christmas carols, ending with Silent Night with all the lights off except for the ones on the Christmas tree.
It seems to me, that no matter what religion you are, it’s hard not to appreciate the Christmas story. Both Joseph and a very pregnant Mary were shut out when they tried to find a place to stay for the night. They were poor and unwelcome in their own land, as unfortunately too many still are in our beautiful world. The celebration of the birth of Jesus continues to leave us with hope for a better future for all mankind. This Youtube video I found shows the love and humanity in this story, that William Kurelek illustrated so well. The composition is by Chris de Burgh. Enjoy.
Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year.