Christmas is coming

Christmas is coming

Column: Make the season last all year long

We might not be able to change the world, but we can change ourselves. We can commit to kindness, generosity, empathy and above all action.

It’s easy to get lost in the bleak reality of today’s newsscape.

From the tragedy of Aleppo, to the heartbreak in Berlin, to the desperation of the addicted, and the predicament of the homeless.

And yet, amid this sadness I’m reminded of the goodness in people.

Last week’s snowstorm helped provide an example.

With the snow on the ground nearly 40 centimetres deep, the call went out for “snow angels” to help shovel the walks and driveways of those who couldn’t.

The snow angels program is operated out of the Chilliwack Senior Resources Society. Around since 2008, it puts volunteers to work helping seniors who might otherwise be housebound for days.

But with the amount of snow that fell last week, and the busy time of the season, there were too few snow angels to go around.

So the appeal for help went out – and it was answered immediately.

“I’m overwhelmed by the positive attitudes,”  Colletta Holmes, executive director of the resources society told The Progress. “People are saying , ‘I want to help, how can I help? What can I do?’ “

By late last week there were 30 people signed on to volunteer their time to help clear snow.

But that was just one example of people stepping forward to help others in a difficult time.

There were countless of other silent volunteers, who simply kept shovelling when they hit their property line, knowing that the senior living next door couldn’t (or shouldn’t) clear the walk. They were knocking on doors, and checking on their neighbours to see if anything was needed.

They were also on the streets, pushing stuck vehicles or helping people navigate a treacherous bit of sidewalk.

Of course this is the season for helping others. And we’ve seen it again as the people of Chilliwack support agencies like the Salvation Army, Ruth and Naomi’s Mission and Chilliwack Community Services. Whether it’s a donation of food, a financial contribution over the long term, or a commitment of their time, people are willing to help.

And that, after all, is the message of Christmas. Coming as it does near the longest night of the year, it is meant to offer hope in a time of doubt; light at a time of darkness.

There is much to be concerned with in this world. Globally we see continued uncertainty and instability.

Locally, we hear the frustration from those on the front lines attempting to help the vulnerable.

But rather than let these sad realities overwhelm us, let them steel our resolve.

We might not be able to change the world in a day, but we can change ourselves. We can commit to kindness, generosity, empathy and above all action.

Make a pledge to bring more goodness into the world, beginning from where you stand.

True, Christmas comes but once a year. However, the attitudes it fosters can continue long after the tree is down and the lights are put away.

There is a great old Christmas song sung by Bing Crosby that I’m always reminded of:  “It’s not the things you do at Christmas time, it’s the Christmas things you do all year through.”

By this time next week, Christmas will have passed. But the need for walks to be cleared, the hungry to be fed, and the homeless to be housed will continue.

Keep the Christmas going.