TURNING SIXTY and by nature loathing to procrastinate, I felt the winds of Christmas early this year. ‘Tis the season for giving and receiving, memories of the past, and hopes for the future, merging as a foundation of good will and positive aspiration for the season.
My first gift was the confirmation that we as Canadians of all nationalities stood in silent memorial to the memory of our fallen on November 11. I saw a community respond in large numbers to the call to bear witness, and declare thanks. As I scanned the crowds, I found a sense of renewal in the number of young people attending the service.
I noted a man driving down a side road. He stopped, got out, and joined the people in our moment of silence.
Remembrance Day, a time of grateful sadness, remorse, hope, and above all, a pride in the men and women that represent Canada. A gift renewed.
November 19 was the day to confirm the gift of freedom. Freedom to vote, to speak out, for and against, to even change the people that govern us.
As free people we participated in a civic election. This year I volunteered as a worker and I was truly inspired by the diversity of the voters. I witnessed immigrant families voting as if it were a sacred ritual, and staunch Anglo Saxons inserting their votes with a hand of defiance.
December 4 produced a wondrous gift for our family in the form of a baby girl. Sofia joined us in the quiet time of morning.
There is something about a newborn child, be its innocence, or the reflection of God.
A baby is confirmation that mankind can choose to make a difference. There are expectations about being a grandparent. It can be described as a renewal of life or a confirmation of purpose; but to me it is a time of childhood. A time to break all the rules you imposed on your own children “for their own good.”
Christmas is absolutely the very best time for grandparents and grandchildren.
Mid-December finds me looking out my front window and reflecting on the street that we have called home for many years. I enjoy the ethnic diversity that has occurred. The neighbourhood has evolved, yet retained its character of family, children, and old dogs.
I actually know most of my neighbours. We take time to talk, wave in passing and most importantly, look out for each other. Summer fish and winter shovels are shared.
I continue to forge a special bond with a little three-year-old packaged with life and vitality. He shares youth, spirit, and trust, in return it costs me jelly beans. He has chipped away at my protections, foiled my gruff ways and learned the secrets to grandpa’s heart.
He has done so much more by giving gifts universal to all children – the ability to bring smiles, to cast fleeting resemblance of children long gone on the road of adults.
Christmas is a time of giving and receiving, I look at all that I have received and realize that Christmas can be year round and starting it all was the gift of a child.
Tony Vincenzi is a writer and grandfather living in Terrace, BC.