Although the story of Christmas is a simple one, this time of year is one of the most complex, sometimes defying description.
This is a time when many things are on the increase, like family reunions, family break-ups, loneliness, suicide, and a host of other things that produce either great joy, or great suffering.
I think the word nostalgia is one of the more commonly used words to describe the myriad of feelings that Christmas evokes in us.
An ex-alcoholic reminisces about time lost with family, but at the same time makes your mouth water with his description of the steaming gaudet meat pie that would be waiting for them when they came home from midnight mass.
The ex- drug addict looks forward to spending time with her daughter and her grandchild while she is completely sober for the first time since her grandchild was born.
Or the daughter who has tears of joy in her eyes when she hears of the birth story of Jesus while in her own womb new life is stirring.
The father who agonizes when his own child rejects all that he has been taught all his life.
Don’t forget about the young couple who such a short time ago celebrated the birth of a child but now find that they cannot live together for whatever reason.
It’s 5 a.m. on Christmas morning, Santa Claus is nowhere to be found, and I’m sitting at my desk with all these thoughts going through my mind, so I am bouncing from joyful elation to a deep sadness as I ponder it all.
I want to go with the ex-alcoholic to P.E.I., attend mass and eat that pie.
Or be there in the cheering section while the ex-addict revels in the joy of experiencing her grandchild.
Maybe I could shake enough sense into that young couple to give their marriage another try, and give a hug to that joyful daughter with that new life within her, or remind that father that God is in control and will eventually bring that child around; just have faith!
As I look at the world we call home with all its goings on, both good and bad, I am reminded that the greater majority of the residents of this world live on hope, about a 10 per cent I would think. Hope for a more peaceful future.
Hope for reconciliation with family, friends, neighbors, and grandchildren, and a marriage.
Hope for a daughter’s successful pregnancy, and an end to a father’s anguish.
One of the better things that I was able to witness, though, was a family who had been called to the hospital because their daughter, sister and mother, was expected to die due to kidney failure. Through much prayer, and even more hope bolstered with faith and a good medical team, the daughter rallied and within two weeks was on her feet!
For many — not enough, but many — that hope is fulfilled in the promise we have received on Christmas Day.
So, stay hopeful my friends, stay hopeful. And above all, have faith.
Chris Salomons is kitchen co-ordinator for Potter’s Hands ministry in Red Deer.