Floyd’s Weekly Column

Celebrating the best that mankind has to offer

Christmas can be a complicated holiday for many.

It’s a time of year that sometimes makes people feel lonely; a time of year that sometimes makes parents who can’t provide many gifts for their children feel inadequate.

It can be an especially tough season for anyone who has lost a loved one or is estranged from family.

But it’s also a holiday that celebrates the best that mankind has to offer.

As a person of faith, the Christmas season for me is primarily a celebration of God’s gift to the world more than 2,000 years ago. The gift of Jesus began a long tradition of gift giving, starting with the Magi from the East who laid their best offerings at the feet of the infant.

Regardless of your religious beliefs or non-beliefs, the Christmas season provides a much-needed margin in our lives to consider the needs of one another.

First, we make time to get together and celebrate, relax and connect again with family — for better or worse. I think part of us remembers the wonderment that Christmas held for us when we were children.

Secondly, our hearts seem a little more attuned to the needs of others as the Christmas season approaches. I know programing at Siloam Mission would be much smaller without the Christmas giving that really sustains operations far into the New Year.

Over the past 29 years, Tom Jackson’s Huron Carol has raised funds for charities across Canada during Christmas, guiding the hearts and minds of people in the audience toward generosity. Local radiothons and food drives raise a record amount of money during this season as compared to other times in the year.

And lastly, Christmas time represents an opportunity to change.

At Siloam, we sometimes get to witness families reuniting during this time of year.

We’ve seen old relationships that were severed begin to heal. People tend to miss each other during Christmas — and it can be a powerful emotional catalyst to right old wrongs or start living a different life.

I still get choked up when Scrooge wakes up on Christmas morning and begins to live his life a different way.

I realize this all may sound overly sentimental or rosy. I’m not blind to the realities of life.

I know a large part of the holiday is manufactured joy and that the commercialization of the season has hollowed out some of its meaning.

I know it can be a time full of stress and financial worries rather than a time of reflection and gratitude.

I know Christmas is painful for many. That’s why we work very hard to make Christmas a very special day for the men and women using our services.

But I also know the central themes of Christmas — hope, joy and peace — can never be emphasized and celebrated enough.

And I also know that if only a fraction of us carry those sentiments forward into the New Year and beyond, our communities will benefit.

And so, as Tiny Tim said, “A Merry Christmas to us all; God bless us, every one!”

— Floyd Perras


Previous Columns

2016

 

2013

2012

2011