Christmas goodwill: Needed early this year

I was in the stores early this season, and I’m here to report that you should be ready: the Christmas decor from China has never looked better; or, been more expensive.

Despite November’s balmy weather, when you walk into any store you’ll find your senses are blitzed with everything Christmas. When I heard the Christmas ’50’s classic, ‘I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus’, my memories were immediately transported back in time… bringing a smile to my face. Yet, it’s as if Christrmas  is ancient history… time to move on.

And, this year, it’s particularly poignant for us as we may be celebrating our last Christmas at our family farmhouse: time for others to make new memories.

Across the store, my wife is buying three silver candles and replenishing some other Christmas decorations we gave away. Still, our property has many evergreens whose boughs make for a wonderful Dickensian themed Christmas: it’ll be fine.

As I think about leaving a home, the tragedy of the massive migration to Europe of Syrians and others fleeing their war-ravaged countries haunts my mind and heart.

“They talk about a life of brotherly love, show me someone who knows how to live it”
Slow Train by Bob Dylan

The brain-searing image of an aid worker lifting up a little boy’s lifeless body – three-year-old Aylan Kurdi, washed up on a Turkey seashore – galvanized the whole world to action, especially Canadians, as the family had tried to reach relatives here. His five-year-old brother, Galip, and mother Rehan also died. Only the father, Abdullah Kurdi, survived when their overcrowded boat capsized. When asked, he proudly described his children as the most beautiful in the world, who would wake him up every morning to play with them.

“Oh, you’re changing your heart
Oh, You know who you are” 
1234 by Feist

This must be what Pope Francis meant when he said not to be overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of refugees, the oppressed poor, but to look into their faces: faces of people wanting only a better future for their children. Planting seeds of hope, not hate.

“O Siem, we are all family.
O Siem, we’re all the same.” 
O Siem by Susan Aglukark

And, if these families, never relate to ‘Christmas’, the compassion of Canadians will be felt in their hearts, if Canada, along with the rest of the world, implements what the Pope calls a culture of caring: giving ‘peace on earth’ a chance.

If we need assurances, our RCMP and security agency CSIS have given it: our qualified rescue project is safe. If we turn our backs, thousands of desperate people face yet another long, cold winter living in European tent cities… as Notre Dame bells ring out freedom.

I’m reminded of words I wrote in a poem called ‘Life As I Know It’:

“When you look at all the injustice, it`s like a bullet to the head / And, though some things won’t change, our words must be said. 

To sing from the same hymn book of life, you and me / Although the world’s still beautiful – it’s trying hard not to be.

And, that’s the challenge (Would you not say?) / To try save a world that others would throw away.”

Nothing can prevent us from giving the gift of Christmas early. How can we not?  

Fred Parry The Music In Me
November 2015

Image courtesy of pixtawan at

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