Are you ready?
That's the question I keep hearing as I rush around trying to finish my shopping. This year the holiday season seems to have crept up on us and I, for one, am WAY behind.
Usually I have the cards ready to go around the time of the Grey Cup, but this year I am still writing them. I always like to enclose a letter, especially for those overseas and equally enjoy getting one back. Some letters are so humourous and you can just picture the scenes described. Others seem like a testimonial and it leaves you wondering if anything real ever happens in those households. And others send photos which helps you visualize your friends in other parts of the world and they don't seem so far away.
It's a time for family, friends and fellowship. Yet, for those who have just lost a loved one, it can be a heart-wrenching period, with their loss so raw and painful. We have some friends who have just lost their second daughter, two deaths within a short period of time. It doesn't seem fair and you just know this will be a tough time for them. As the mother of two daughters myself, I can't even begin to imagine their pain.
For others, it may be job loss or a divorce that changes the family dynamic and for some people who are always alone, this time of year is no different for them.
Many of us can afford to do something beyond our own family. This year, we became the secret Santa for two children who'd stayed at Nellie's, the shelter in Toronto. It was fun to shop and choose gifts that you knew they'd enjoy and yes, it does make you feel good; that you're doing something concrete to make some children happy.
We can all do something - dropping change into the Salvation Army Kettle; helping a family in need or inviting someone on their own to join you for dinner... Whatever ... let's get into the holiday spirit, because the true joy is in giving, not receiving.