Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas in Canada

Being home for Christmas this year was one of the greatest gifts I could have received. I love my new home in Mozambique but my true home is here in Winnipeg, especially during the holiday season. As I was preparing to leave Maputo for my 30 hour journey home, I became intoxicated on the anticipation of seeing a White Christmas once again, something I had missed dearly the previous year. As exotic as it sounds, cold drinks on a sunny beach will never top hot chocolate and a roaring fire at Christmas time. I am so incredibly fortunate to have this opportunity to come home and spend this cherished time with friends and family amidst the serene beauty of a prairie Canadian winter.

As I write this entry, it is “only” -10 degrees Celsius outside. I say only because it could easily drop down to -25 degrees any moment. Winnipeg has the distinction of being one of the coldest cities in the world so a temperature reprieve is a welcome blessing. Actually I find -10 to be ideal winter conditions, perfect for ice hockey, skiing and long walks in the park among the glowing Christmas lights and sparking fields of snow. This is such an unbelievable contrast to Africa and I am looking forward to sharing these images with my Mozambican friends who have never come close to seeing a White Christmas.

Of course the other significant cultural contrast I have encountered this holiday season is the mass consumerism here in the North America. I had a hard time driving past the long rows of box commercial chains with the lines of cars stretching out of the parking lots, shoppers frantically scrambling to buy that final gift on their Christmas lists. I did not even go near the malls this year, I figured that this “reverse” culture shock would be just a little too much to handle. I read an article the other day about how Canadians spend an average of $825 each year on Christmas gifts. That is A LOT of money that we spend simply on stuff, much of which we will not even use after a few years time!!

At the risk of sounding cliché, I cannot help but be challenged amidst all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season by John Lennon’s “So this is Christmas and what have you done.” As a wayfaring Christian, this song always brings the true meaning of Christmas close to my heart: How have we offered love, peace, hope and joy with a world so often devoid of such simple and precious gifts? There is comfort and inspiration in the Christmas message for a world suffering from warfare, hunger and death. There is new life that comes from the Light that shines above, just as it was in Bethlehem 2000 years ago so may it be today in Winnipeg, Iraq, Mozambique and to the ends of the earth.

My prayer for everyone is that we can experience this Light in a new way this holiday season, allowing us to invigorate our souls and illuminate all those we encounter on the walk of life. I’ll leave ya with the lyrics to one of my favourite Christmas tunes, the aptly titled “Christmas Song” by Dave Matthews. Many blessings to you all and have a wonderful Christmas and a very festive holiday season!!

She was his girl, he was her boyfriend
Soon to be his wife, make him her husband
A surprise on the way, any day, any day
One healthy little giggling, dribbling baby boy
The Wise Men came, three made their way
To shower him with love
While he lay in the hay
Shower him with love, love, love
Love, love was all around

Not very much of his childhood was known
Kept his mother Mary worried
Always out on his own
He met another Mary who for a reasonable fee
Less than reputable was known to be
His heart was full of love, love, love
Love, love was all around

When Jesus Christ was nailed to the his tree
Said "Oh, Daddy-o, I can see how it all soon will be.
I came to shed a little light on this darkening scene.
Instead I fear I’ve spilled the blood of our children all around."
The blood of our children all around
The blood of our children’s all around

So I’m told, so the story goes
The people he knew were
Less than golden-hearted
Gamblers and robbers
Drinkers and jokers
All soul searchers
Like you and me
Like you and me

Rumors insisted he soon would be
For his deviations taken into custody
By the authorities, less informed than he.
Drinkers and jokers, all soul searchers
Searching for love, love, love
Love, love was all around

Preparations were made
For his celebration day
He said, "Eat this bread, think of it as me.
Drink this wine and dream it will be
The blood of our children all around,
The blood of our children’s all around

Father up above,
Why in all this anger do you fill me up with love, love, love?
Father up above,
Why in all this hatred do you fill me up with love?
Fill me love, love, yeah
Love, love, and the blood of our children all around


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"At the risk of sounding cliché" - dude, your whole blog is cliché.

Merry Christmas

10:13 p.m.  
Blogger Friar Tuck said...

Perhaps. But it's a cliché I like.

3:37 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We'll have to hang out while you're in town - I'll be back on the 6th, and we'll figure something out then!

Glad you're enjoying the wonders of Winnipeg.


9:48 a.m.  
Blogger J-WAB said...

Sorry, but I've got to agree with the first guy. Now if you'll excuse me, I must get back to my glass house.

Happy Holidays and all the jazz.

12:33 a.m.  
Blogger jfunk said...

So good to see you again. How long are you visiting us for?

1:06 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:56 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was so good to see you over coffee and crepes!

10:13 a.m.  

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