Monday, December 23, 2013

Reflections at the end of 2013

As I look out the window a few days before Christmas, I see a skating rink of a street - ahhh, just ruined by a sander!. We are between ice/ rain storms, apparently. On this busiest of shopping weekends, we are told. 

Text message tells me son #two, wife and child safely off the 401, arrived in Kingston. Thank God.

All of this a bit of a metaphor for this past year. Deep freezes followed by thaws. And vice versa. Nature (as influenced by the Bush Administration and others nearer to home) serving up weather contortions like never seen before!

Civilization doing its best to imitate. The 1% outdoing themselves. The poor being outdone. Government official asking 'is it my job to feed my neighbour’s child? I don’t think so.” 

Publisher of the Toronto Star (December 21, 2013) writing his own editorial, says:

            Minister Moore’s words were neither compassionate nor particularly conservative..........          (For a growing number of  Canadians and Americans) Theirs is a world in which we don’t live our lives as caring neighbours and united citizens but as isolated, self-motivated economic actors.     Relationships are transactional in this world — not based on trust or tradition........ This is the world of A Christmas Carol, published by Charles Dickens as a satiric attack on the economic attitudes and morality of his day 170 years ago this week. 

But son#2 and his family did get safely off the highway on an icy, dangerous day, in spite of weather that makes us think of climate change wrought by humans. 

And good will does live on in spite of growing cynicism and greed. Numerous articles talk about the joy of volunteering and giving in Christmas campaigns for the poor. They also talk of people helping each other in the middle of power outages - and so on. 

The bah humbug factor? Jewish authors Bernie Farber and Avrum Rosensweig have written another of those great articles that appear this time every year in which non-Christians puzzle about the resistance  to saying Merry Christmas. I love it, and I always make a point to answer whether online or in print. Wishing Happy Chanukah or Eid Mubarak to authors who earnestly want us all to get in touch with what these feasts mean. They are times of goodwill, expressions of oneness among all peoples, respect for each others' religious traditions, and reminders that we have work to do in the world.

In the end, we have to decide. My own temptations to cynicism need to give way to rejoicing in the very thing I fear we are trying to get rid of: the celebration of the birth of Christ. The Savior. The One who ensures we truly are not alone and don't need to act like fools going it alone!

A very Merry Christmas to all, and a healthy, peaceful 2014!