Advance View: Reach out with plenty

Christmas time is a time of universal joy and friendships, peace and happiness, sharing and goodwill.

At least, that’s what it is supposed to be, and indeed, that’s what it is for many of us. But for some, it’s a time when loneliness becomes more oppressive than any other time of year. It’s a time when feelings of loneliness are compounded by sights and sounds of others enjoying the warmth of each other’s company.

It’s a time that for some people, ironically, it becomes even more difficult to reach out to others, because the expectations of fellowship run so high that they create feelings of inadequacy, and lower feelings of self-worth.

It is a sad truth that there are those among us who dread Christmas Eve as the coldest night of the year.

For those with plenty – surrounded by loved ones and friends with whom to share this beautiful season – this can be truly a season of giving, not just of gifts, but of selfless contributions to community. It’s a time of reaching out to those who need – in some cases, desperately need – more than they have.

Although Christmas has become a ubiquitous celebration of the goodness and kindness of which we are all capable, enjoyed by people of virtually all (or no) faiths, it remains a time when the spotlight shines on the community’s churches, a number of which offer special Christmas Eve services where anyone seeking spiritual comfort or just the comfort of connecting with others, of being part of something, can find refuge.

We can look to the Salvation Army’s Gateway of Hope, throughout the year, but especially in the days approaching Christmas, as an example of the selflessness that makes us all feel a sense of belonging, a sense of community.

On Christmas Day, the St. Joseph’s Church tradition continues, providing Christmas dinner to any and all (4 p.m. on Christmas Day at the Langley parish, 20676 Fraser Hwy. – they even offer rides, just call 604-538-3303), along with games and prizes and joyful singing.

Christmas shouldn’t have to be the loneliest day of the year – for anyone.

– B.G.

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