Christmas is still inspirational

Christmas and the holiday season can be a tricky time to negotiate.  On the one hand, it is arguably the most celebratory time of year. On the other, it has the potential to become a real pressure cooker defined by expectations and obligations.  While we can all acknowledge that it doesn’t have to be that way, putting that realization into action can be a difficult task.  Like so much else in our lives, this doesn’t quite make it unique.

The spirit of the season in the classic sense speaks to time spent with loved ones and friends, focusing on the bonds that bring us together and appreciating what blessings are bestowed upon us. It’s true that there is a lot of hype that our modern world throws at us.  We are urged to spend money, shop and then shop some more.  The stress can build up and that can make it hard to remember this is really just a happy time of the year. But if you look around your community, there are a lot of reminders of people going out of their way to do good deeds with no price tag attached.

Scratch the surface and you’ll see that there’s so much we can get inspiration from at Christmas time and all through the year for that matter.  This week in parliament, I delivered a statement about food banks and all the good work that is done to help address hunger in Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing.  I spoke about Pastor Dan Lee from Chapleau who established the food bank in that community.  He recently celebrated 30 years with the Church and the work of his congregation is part of the solution that is addressing the needs of those who require a little assistance to make ends meet.

I also told parliament about the Rotary Club of Kapuskasing who are taking their turn running the food bank after years of great service by the Kinsmen Club.  I was limited for time or I would have brought in the great work done by firefighters in that community and all across Canada collecting donations for food banks which is a high profile way to remind people that compassion and charity start at home.

But food banks aren’t the only way that need is met in the North.  I spoke about the Homeland Mission’s Free Food Giveaway that took place on Manitoulin Island in November. The event was led by Pastor Rodney Deforge who had a lot of help giving food to over 6,000 individuals - which is an incredible turnout by any measure.  I also brought up Elliot Lake’s Al Collett Memorial Christmas Dinner that continues a 33 year tradition of giving to those in need of food and company over the holidays. 

The list could go on and there is far more done to help people all across the North than I could tell the House or list here.  There are volunteers and organizations doing something positive in their communities every day of the year, but the Christmas season often draws people’s attention to those less fortunate more powerfully than any other time of the year.  That’s what makes it a great time to remind people that almost everyone can offer a little something to help out, whether that’s directly or indirectly it all counts.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!