I know I haven't been around a lot (thats an understatement) however I have been battling health problems. I ended up in the Emergency at one of our fine hospitals. I am scheduled for more tests this week. Work is very hectic and having only one day off and working extra shifts doesn't leave much time to do the things I would like to do or need to do. This is mainly due to a staff shortage where I work. Some social work is not very appealing because of the unpleasant work it entails. It is difficult to find suitable staff.
This morning as I sat down in front of my computer the first thing I saw was a news article from Canadian Press that stated a Canadian soldier had been killed by a road side bomb in Afghanistan two days before his 25th birthday. This young man is the 154th Canadian soldier to be killed. What makes it even more sad is that less than a week before Christmas a family will be without a son. On December 16th at 8:30 am at the homeless shelter where I work one of our clients died, cause unknown. He was 59 years old. There is too much saddness, too much unhappiness this time of year. The British Medical Journal states that lonliness increases this time of year leading to all kinds acts of depression. Duh! No shocker there, eh? The Medical journal goes on to say some people will go to the emergency room not because they are ill (they will invent some kind of medical problem) but rather they simply want to be around people. Then there are those who will find saddness in the memories of a loved one who has passed away. Two years ago (nine days before Christmas) my friends oldest son, 37 years old, died of a massive heart attack leaving behind a wife and two young children. The Organization I work for is preparing 3500 Christmas hampers to be delivered to 3500 homes so they can have a bit of a merry Christmas. Oh yes, there is a Christmas dinner for the poor and for those who are homeless. There will be a turkey dinner, gifts even Santy Clause. They are expecting between 2500 - 3000 people to come and enjoy this festive occassion. I for one think its a great idea to bring some cheer into their lives.
When I am downtown I see all the decorations. The "City Fathers" have decreed a long time ago that downtown should have a festive look about it. You know put lights on all the trees, lamp posts, put up a nativity scene, even have animals like raindeer (I believe the animal activists defeated that plan this year). There are the store windows with all their Christmas shopping temptations. Hundreds...no thousands of shoppers are bustling to and fro trying to find the best deals even if it means shoving someone aside to grab a deal before anybody else. In Mall parking lots there is an exchange of verbal abuse over parking spots, there are fender benders as several cars try to access the same parking spot. There are even fights, I mean fists flying as both genders seek the same parking spot. Then there are those lurking in the shadows of greed to see whose vehicle they can break into to steal all the goodies bought by the hard wage earner. There are parents towing screaming children from store to store. There are the youth totally oblvious ( how do they do it? Ah the youth) to all their surrounds except for what they want. You know I miss the days when we as a family got into the car and drove to town to shop. We all had our saved up allownces, agreed to meet at a certain location after an hour or two. We walked the streets cheerfully greeting friends and relatives, looking in windows searching for what we believed would be the perfect gift. We entered a store or two (there weren't that many stores to choose from) and sought the gift we wanted, purchased it and went happily on our way. Afterwards we met at the car and drove home content with our "shopping spree."
This Christmas day, Boxing Day, New Year's Eve and New Years Day I am scheduled to work. I don't mind really as I would be sitting at home anyway watching a non-Christmas movie or doing something that is not Christmas oriented. Oh...I am going Christmas shopping as I do have the good fortune of having an extended family here whom I love and greatly appreciate. Oh yes...I will be buying presents for my cats, Mr. MaGoo and his more active brother Angel. Hmmm...what to buy two 15 year old cats?
I know there are those who will disagree with me when I say that in spite of all the bad that is happening ( I haven't even begun to scratch the surface) but there is hope. Hope in Christ Jesus our Lord and Saviour. He gives us the strength, courage and love to surrive in these troubled times but we have to unconditionally surrender ourselves daily to Him. He helps us surrive our own personal problems, our personal tragedies. If we do not have faith in Him, if we do not love Him, if we do not believe in Him...life will go on but without His peace and guidance. I surrive in spite of my health problems, in spite of what has happened in my life, in spite of my personal struggles and challenages because of the One we worship and acknowledge as our Lord and Saviour. Phil. 4:13 continues to hold true for me in so many ways. I am not perfect, I stumble a lot in my life as His child, I am stubborn at times (is that the same as being rebellious?) I do try though to be what He wants me to be. For those who do not share the Hope I have in Christ...well Spring is just around the cornor. Spring...when Nature gives birth to hope.