This is a time to give thanks for loved ones, and look back on the past year. We come together – in places of worship, around the table, under the tree, in coffee shops and church basements, outside farmer’s markets, in public parks, waiting beside bus stops, in community centres, pubs and bars, in sandwich shops, subway cars, ice skating rinks and banks, outside, and within, bike repair stores, walking through shopping malls, in apartment buildings, around town hall, in the mayor’s office, in wine stores and on sidewalks, in universities and gyms, outside, in schoolyards, in hallways, in parking lots, carnivals and smaller towns, sitting in bingo halls, in the Legion, diners, forests and along winding hiking trails, on escalators and elevated walkways, in front of the computer, sitting in living rooms, in showrooms, across pedestrian bridges, in bakeries, in cow-sheds, sitting in internet cafes, in granaries, supermarkets, stables, warehouses, meeting houses, condominiums, parking garages, libraries, blockhouses, schools, consulates, farmhouses, root cellars, gas stations, greenhouses, hotels, haylofts, citadels, boarding schools, amphitheaters, pigpens, colleges, concert halls, industrial buildings, markets, storage silos, arsenals, storm cellars, well houses, dormitories, gurdwaras, duplexes, townhouses, embassies, churches, foundries, boathouses, pagodas, hospitals, car washes, prisons, moot halls, fire stations, Hindu temples, villas, monasteries, hangars, chicken coops, fortress, cinemas, post offices, wineries, castles, taxi stations, bungalows, duomos, archives, lighthouses, silos, chapels, igloos, convention centers, huts, skyscrapers, art galleries, opera houses, automobile repair shops, breweries, theaters, temples, mills, sheds, factories, power plants, police stations, bus stations, military buildings, residential buildings, palaces, shrines, basilicas, museums, religious buildings, forums, restaurants, synagogues, garages, courthouses, airport terminals, bunkers, parliaments, barnyards, martyriums, barracks, signal boxes, asylums, cathedrals, apartment blocks, or nursing homes – to celebrate the spirit of the season.
We often celebrate this time of year by showing our generosity to family and friends. I trust that we will do the same with the thousands of people who are experiencing the Canadian holidays and the Canadian winter for the first time – the Syrian refugees. After all, we share values of love, hope, compassion, enthusiasm, service, assertiveness, courage, purposefulness, confidence, consideration, creativity, loyalty, honour, integrity, helpfulness, respect, excellence, tolerance, reliability, peacefulness, gentleness, generosity, modesty, compassion, joyfulness, friendliness, thankfulness, flexibility, responsibility, justice, honesty, understanding, idealism, trustworthiness, humility, patience, tact, trust, unity, diligence, cooperation, commitment, orderliness, forgiveness, determination, love, courtesy, moderation, self-discipline, detachment, caring, perseverance, kindness, truthfulness, and cleanliness. It’s what we do and it’s who we are.
Let us also take time to remember the brave women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces who cannot be with their families. We appreciate these sacrifices for our country – not just today, but every day.
My friends, I’m deeply grateful for the support you’ve shown my family and me over this past year. I am honoured to have this opportunity to serve you.
From our family to yours, Sophie and I send you the warmest of Christmas wishes and all the best for health and happiness in 2016. ♦
If you liked this, like our Facebook page!