December 21, 2015 - 8:17 AM
Eleven days ago, our country began welcoming the flights of Syrian refugees into its National airports. Churches, non-profits, businesses, caring individuals and community organizations began to put together settling-in baskets filled with the necessities that would be getting these people through the first few weeks ahead.
My family had been following the news closely; waiting for the final word that this was organized, that this was going through. We waited patiently, and with great anticipation for the final word.
“All is going as planned,” my brother finally informed us on December 9th, “So I’ll be home tomorrow.”
My youngest brother — a Canadian Armed Forces soldier — was on call to escort refugees into the country and was warned that if things got pushed back too far, or happened ahead of scheduled, heading home for Christmas would be an impossibility.
Peace work, we kept telling him, although spirits were lower than they were high.
When we are confronted with unwanted change in relation to things of great meaning, we find ourselves quick to temper. We are — for lack of a better analogy — two year olds in a candy store with our hands taped to our pockets.
What do you mean, Christmas is going to be different? Christmas is never different! It won’t be Christmas if it’s different, will it?
There have, I’m sure, been moments of Christmas change for all of us. It’s the year someone forgets to take the turkey out to thaw, the year we get the snow we prayed for and realize we can’t get to our parent’s place for dinner, the year we get married, have a child, decide not to do presents, move somewhere new, or even have to miss the festivities entirely.
Christmas change happens and, as we all know, so still does Christmas.
We are reminded constantly during the season that the meaning of Christmas is together-ness — it is love, it is community, it is simply being alive.
Commercials selling Turtles chocolates remind us of this, as do the ones selling car batteries from Canadian Tire, Starbucks egg sandwiches and Tiffany’s diamonds. That stupid song “Christmas Shoes” making the world burst into collective sobs jabs the meaning of the season inside our heart like an icicle melting into a cup of hot chocolate.
We are not oblivious and yet we still allow ourselves to become attached to the small things.
However, as we watch with wide eyes the gift of a new beginning being handed to those entering our country bearing such heavy burdens, we are filled with hope. We are filled with joy. We are filled with a sense of peace that combats the anxiety of a messy world. We are re-acquainted with a love that is bigger than what we might feel every day and above all we recognize a sense of gratitude for that change which can be so hard.
The change is rarely easy and the preparation for the journey is hardly something we wish upon others or ourselves. The question of whether or not it’s worth it will come up again and again. But, even so, things will change.
As we look at our own circumstances, the circumstances of friends and those of the people coming to join us from places of horrible misfortune we know this holiday season is going to be different for some people— whether its because of relocation, a new start, a change of plans, a loss of someone close or a tradition that had to die in order to make room for something new — but we also know the season will go on.
Christmas will happen like every other day happens — as a series of twenty-four hours during which we do our very best to be optimistic and smile, our very best to be compassionate and our very best to make a difference.
We know full well that change is part of our journey and this year — while for some it may be an unexpected pit stop — let us all remember that for others it is the dream destination.
— Andria Parker is an Instagram-obsessed idealist with at least 600 words to share on every topic, ever.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015