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Focus on what you can do

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What does Christmas mean to you? Well, we will all find out this year what is important.

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Will it be ‘not being with family?’ Not having enough money to spend on gifts? Starting new traditions, perhaps a simpler feast on the table? Sharing some of your bounty with others that can’t provide any? Taking food to the park where the homeless people are trying to survive?

This Christmas reminds me of years gone by when my brother and I, who had been raised on making our gifts, cut up the dish soap container so the top sat upside down in the bottom. We painted them up pretty so you could put them on the counter with pan scrubber and SOS pad in them.

After working a few years I went back to college and had no money for presents… so I bought a simple set of kids’ water colour paints and a book of paper to paint on and gave everyone a truly terrible painting. (I had never even taken art in school). But I was actually quite proud of those presents as I put my heart and soul into trying to paint something that family and friends might like. Most of them figured out what I had tried to paint. Amazingly, the lack of money gave me the gift of painting. I enjoyed it and still paint today.

Not being home with family is hard. As child I spent a Christmas day in hospital, although my parents could come to visit for a couple of hours. But I could use the nurse’s telephone anytime during the day and I did. Today we may not be able to hug each other but we can see each other and talk to each other on portable electronic devices or on old phones. And don’t forget, sending a paper letter or card, anytime, can be seen, picked up and read over and over by lonely people whenever they need it.

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Do not focus on what you can’t do but on what you can do and realize the most important thing is that our loved ones are alive and well. Really, what is more important?

It has been a tradition that I share one of my father’s writing at Christmas. Dad wrote about everything, all his life. When my parents moved to Tillsonburg back in 1990, he had a lifelong dream come true, to see his writings in print, when he became a columnist in the Tillsonburg Independent newspaper. My Merry Christmas to you: Star of Christmas by Ronald F. Turner.

“We see it shine atop the tree, a radiant star for all to see. A little higher than the holly, but brighter than the lights so jolly. The star sends out its lovely rays, reminding us of happy days with friends nearby… the fire’s roar, while Jack Frost frisks beyond the door.

It tells us of another star that brought shepherds and wise men from afar and led them to a stable door, the infant Jesus to adore. The one whose life the world would change, a king who’s coming was so strange. No laud and pomp, as some would think for one who Man and God would like. Lift up your eyes unto the star lest tinsel should your vision mar. Rejoice that Christ was born this day, a star and light to guide our way!”

lbeechey@rogers.com

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