Erin's Journals

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Just a thought… What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. [Agnes M. Pahro]

Oh, my friends, I have my fingers crossed today. Last week on our way home from a few errands with Colin, we passed by (safely and at a snail’s pace) a glorious house in our neighbourhood that has gone above and beyond in decorations this year.

I have for you a video of his reaction – our short Q & A – that I’m hoping YouTube will allow to stay up, despite a very clear verse of THE most appropriate non-Christmas song in the background, which just happened to be playing on our radio at that moment. (They’re rightfully tight about copyright).

If it’s not there, I apologize. But it really is worth the watch. This six-year-old boy’s response is everything – I promise. And if you do take the time to view it, come back to the journal to read about a special initiative being planned worldwide for one week tonight.

Have you noticed that people just seem to be going a little more over-the-top with decorations this year? For us, it means putting anything at all out in front of our house; we’ve either been that house with no lights (the first two years we were here) or away for the winter, as we were the next two.

But in 2020, as we all view a vaccine as the light at the end of a long, dark tunnel (with many more precautions to be taken, of course, until we can all breathe easily and even consider taking off our masks), the perfect analogy is those neighbours, stores and communities that are brightening our lives in any way that they can. Bless them all.

For every event that was a part of our holiday traditions that have been cancelled – the markets, the parades, the celebrations together – there has been a quiet call to add cheer in our own ways. One week tonight, on Christmas Eve at 6 o’clock, many thousands of Canadians are going to go out on their balconies or front steps and ring bells to help Santa guide his sleigh and to honour those who have kept us safe and healthy in the most challenging of years. From Blog.TO:

Etobicoke resident Craig Power shared the idea in the South Etobicoke Community Group Facebook page.

“On Christmas Eve at 6pm everyone will come outside onto their doorsteps and ring a bell for 2 minutes to spread the Christmas spirit and to help Santa fly his sleigh. After this awful year, it would be an amazing memory for the kids and communities,” he posted.

The Blog.TO story continues:

The idea appears to have originated in England, with a Facebook group called Worldwide Christmas Eve Jingle 2020 dedicated to the event. The group suggests the idea stated in Harrogate, a town in North Yorkshire, England.

“What started as a little idea for the Harrogate Community is starting to spread so thought a group would be a good idea for all communities all over the world to join in,” the Facebook page description reads.

The group encourages people around the world to go outside and ring a bell for two minutes at 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

It also suggests an added option of singing carols after the jingle.

“It will create a wave of bells across the world,” the page description continues. “After a tough year it would be an amazing memory for the kids and communities. End 2020 with a bit of Magic, hope and togetherness!”

We’ll be doing just that, one week tonight. I’ll have tears in my eyes, remembering those 24 years of Christmas Eve at Erin’s shows that always began with a welcome and then Chris Rea’s “Driving Home for Christmas.” In fact, as I write this, I think I’ll make sure it’s playing when we’re outside at 6 pm our time.

We’ll leave our dinner on the table and we’ll take the time remember all of those who are working on Christmas Eve (as we always have) but also the women and men who gave so much to make sure that we were safe and healthy, fed and cared for in this impossibly difficult year.

We’ll think of the fear that has swept through our country – and our planet – like some Biblical plague, and for a moment, just be grateful for our homes, our health, our families. For the gifts under the tree (and the stalwart men and women who made sure they got to our doors or mailboxes) but even more importantly, for the love that we got to share, the connections that we made by plowing through tech-fear barriers and the longing that we feel to hug and hold those that we miss so very much this year.

I’ll be back with you here on Monday – a chat with Mike Cooper on what will be Winter Solstice.

Rob WhiteheadThursday, December 17, 2020