Christmas Day normally evokes images of children shrieking in delight under a tree overflowing with presents, a dinner table overflowing with turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and tons and tons of gravy.
Unfortunately, this year like every year, some people obviously didn’t get the memo.
In Baghdad a suicide bomber blew up himself, killed five others and wounded dozens of others at the interior ministry.
In the northern Afghanistan province of Takhar a suicide bomber blew himself up at a funeral service, killing 20 people and injuring more than 50 others.
In Nigeria followers of so-called “Religion of Peace”, The Boko Haram Islamist sect, decided Christmas Day was the perfect day to murder more Christians. They bombed three churches, and another suicide bomber that may or may not be linked to them killed four security officers when he detonated his explosives.
In Grapevine, Texas, one family member apparently didn’t like his or her present, and murdered the rest of the family in front of the Christmas Tree before taking his or her own life.
Much closer to home, lest we good Canadians start thinking of ourselves as superior to any of the above lunatics, a 38-year-old Toronto man stabbed a Toronto woman repeatedly and then tossed her off a third-storey balcony. She survived the fall to the sidewalk that broke her pelvis and is now in critical condition in hospital.
In Surrey, British Columbia, someone shot a 54-year-old woman who was “known to police” on Christmas Day.
After all that, I’ll forgive you if you are feeling just a little depressed!
Fortunately, there is still some Christmas Spirit left in the world.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past week, you are familiar with the tragic story just outside of Claresholm, Alberta, where one young man decided to murder his ex-girlfriend and everyone else in the vehicle with her on the side of an Alberta highway.
The senseless murder of three young people with promising futures and one young woman left fighting for her life in an Alberta hospital doesn’t give a person much hope.
One week before Christmas, the last thing any parent believes is that their child will be in a hospital bed in critical condition. It’s got to be the worst nightmare of every parent.
It’s also where, when your world has just shattered into a million pieces, that a total stranger does something so kind it leaves you speechless.
That’s exactly what happened to the parents of Shayna Conway, the 21-year-old woman who is recovering after being shot. She is the only survivor of the tragic events that took the lives of Tabitha Stepple, Tanner Craswell and Mitch Maclean, as well as their killer, whose name I will not repeat.
Shayna Conway’s parents are from Prince Edward Island and have been staying in a Calgary hotel in order to be near their daughter. That gets expensive in a hurry, but at a time like this, who worries about the cost?
Apparently, a total stranger who was going away on holidays and felt his house shouldn’t sit empty while the Conways rack up a horrendous hotel bill, that’s who.
Identified only as a member of the fire department, the kind stranger contacted them and offered them his home while he was away on holidays.
Brian McAsey, spokesperson for the fire department, explained.
"It's something that unfortunately I have to admit I wouldn't have thought of," said McAsey.
"You just don't, right? When there's someone in the hospital, where's (the family) going to stay? Oh, there'll be someone to take care of that... He was the guy that took care of that."
It is very encouraging to know that there are some folks who still comprehend what the Spirit of Christmas is all about.
If you’re the firefighter who so generously offered his home to the Conway family, on behalf of them and all of us, Thank You for reminding us all of what is important.
Loving our neighbours as ourselves…